Cascade’s Donelle Meriwether carries the ball during a game against Inglemoor on Aug. 31, 2017, at Pop Keeney Stadium in Bothell. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Cascade’s offense, defense shine in 30-7 win over Inglemoor

BOTHELL — Forget the spread offense. Cascade, a Wing-T team, showcased its own take on the ever-popular system during the Bruins’ season opener.

“We feel like we have six or seven backs that could play a lot of football for all the other teams in the league, and that’s what’s fun about the Wing-T,” third-year Cascade coach Shane Keck said. “Everyone talks about the spread offense, spread offense. Well, we spread the ball around to everybody, just a different way.”

Cascade certainly did Thursday night during its 30-7 nonleague, season-opening win against Kingco’s Inglemoor at Pop Keeney Stadium in Bothell.

Donelle Meriwether, Josh Velhagen, Max Nelson, Corey Fregoso and quarterback Brett Gillis each recorded 24 or more rushing yards. Meriwether paced the group with four carries for 102 yards, including a 63-yard score and Gillis threw for 121 yards and completed touchdown passes of 60 and 24 yards.

The Bruins got plenty of help from a ferocious pass rush. Their defense finished with eight sacks, and Nelson was responsible for at least half.

“We knew they were a new staff, and we have some athletic kids on defense,” Keck said. “It’s hard to block all six if you are only blocking with five. We kind of smelled blood early. It went our way, and we said, ‘Let’s eat ‘em up,’ and we just started sending the dogs. Max Nelson I think had three or four or five sacks himself.”

Cascade (1-0), which snuck past Inglemoor with a one-point win to open the 2016 campaign, raced out to a 23-0 halftime lead, and its defense took care of the rest.

Meriwether, a senior who is playing football for the first time since his freshman year, got the scoring started with a 63-yard run up the middle for an early first-quarter touchdown. The run capped off a quick four-play 66-yard scoring drive.

The Bruins again needed only four plays on their ensuing drive to take a two-score lead. This time Gillis rolled to his right on a beautiful play-action fake and found receiver Camyn Coleman wide open for a 24-yard score. The touchdown put Cascade on top 13-0 with 6:15 to play in the first.

A 34-yard field goal from Sarmad Aqrawi extended the Bruins’ lead to 16-0, and a touchdown with 2:31 remaining in the half gave Cascade a commanding 23-0 advantage. Gatlin Griffin caught a 2-yard pass from Gillis that took him down to the Vikings’ 1-yard line before fumbling into the end zone. Wide receiver Sean Sibley conveniently pounced on the ball to extend Cascade’s lead.

Inglemoor benefited from a few big first-half plays. Cole Kindschi ripped off a 24-yard run, Kyle Loken had a 34-yard rush and receiver Luke Millman had six catches for 65 yards, but Inglemoor squandered its only true scoring chance in large part due to constant Cascade quarterback pressure.

In the first half alone, the Bruins recorded six sacks.

Just two plays into their first offensive series of the second half, the Bruins struck again. Gillis faked a few handoffs and found running back Junior Due running wide open down the seam. No one was within 15 yards of Due when he caught the ball, and junior back cruised for a 60-yard score, putting Cascade in front 30-0 with 8:30 to play in the third.

The Bruins relentless pressure on Inglemoor QB AJ Baldwin took its toll. Early in the third quarter, Baldwin took his seventh sack, left the game holding his arm and never returned. He was replaced by Kolby Solomon.

“We were a lot better than them in the secondary,” Due said. “We figured we could go man pressure most of the time, and we got a lot of pressure on their QB. That felt great.”

Inglemoor avoided the shutout with a late score. Loken powered into the end zone from 3-yards out, trimming Cascade’s lead to 30-7 with 6:13 to play in the fourth and earning a small victory.

Cascade hosts Everett at 7 p.m. next Friday.

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