Rasmussen, Bardue lead Lake Stevens past Cascade

EVERETT — Jake Rasmussen couldn’t recall ever scoring this many touchdowns in a game, let alone in the first half.

“Maybe like in seven-on-seven passing tournaments,” Rasmussen said. “But not in this (a varsity game).”

The Lake Stevens senior receiver hauled in four first-half touchdown passes and added a punt return for a score as the seventh-ranked Vikings remained unbeaten with a 41-7 Wesco 4A rout of Cascade on Friday night at Everett Memorial Stadium. The victory sets up a heavyweight showdown between Lake Stevens (8-0) and Monroe (8-0) next week for the league title.

“Jake’s been a great receiver for us all year long, even last year,” Lake Stevens head coach Tom Tri said. “But we’ve got more than a handful of skilled players, so some of our guys maybe don’t get all the props that they deserve. We’ve known all along that if you leave Jake open at all, he’s not only going to catch the ball, but he’s going to make guys miss and make big plays.”

Rasmussen finished with six catches for 94 yards while hauling in touchdown receptions of 7, 4, 46 and 10 yards. Senior quarterback Conor Bardue went 8-of-10 passing for 157 yards and five touchdowns. Senior running back Blake May added 104 yards rushing to balance a high-powered Vikings attack that built a 41-0 lead early in the third quarter.

Lake Stevens’ defense, meanwhile, kept the Bruins off the scoreboard until the fourth quarter. The Vikings bottled up Cascade’s wing-T rushing attack and limited the Bruins to just 211 yards of total offense.

“That was the first team that we’ve faced (this season) that’s a true wing-T team,” Tri said. “You try to simulate that in practice, but it’s next to impossible when you’re a spread, no-huddle team. I thought our guys did a tremendous job of lining up, being fast and physical, reading their keys, getting off blocks and making plays on defense.”

Cascade (2-6, 1-5 Wesco) reached the red zone on its opening possession, but the drive stalled when a third-down halfback pass was deflected in the end zone and intercepted by Lake Stevens’ Austin Murren.

From there, it was all Vikings. Lake Stevens found the end zone on each of its first four possessions, mounting touchdown drives of 57, 68, 52 and 76 yards.

Bardue and Rasmussen connected on a slant route for a 7-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring. Then after a 58-yard double-reverse run by senior receiver Hunter Eckstrom, Bardue found a wide-open Rasmussen for a 4-yard touchdown pass that gave the Vikings a 14-0 first-quarter lead.

Two minutes into the second quarter, Bardue lofted a perfectly placed 46-yard touchdown pass to Rasmussen down the left sideline. May then ran for a 33-yard gain on the following possession, setting up a 10-yard touchdown pass from Bardue to Rasmussen that extended the lead to 28-0.

“Me and Conor have been playing together since our sophomore year when I first moved here (from Boise),” Rasmussen said. “That connection was there first thing — we were always playing catch and stuff. And now to be able to put it into games, it’s always there.”

Rasmussen put the exclamation point on his incredible first half when he returned a punt 75 yards for a touchdown, sprinting down the right sideline for his fifth score of the night.

Early in the third quarter, Bardue tossed a 51-yard touchdown pass down the left sideline to junior receiver Anthony Hutchinson that pushed the margin to 41-0 and began a running clock. Bardue now has 34 touchdown passes and just four interceptions this year after replacing Jacob Eason, last season’s Gatorade National Player of the Year and the current University of Georgia starting quarterback.

Cascade running back Santana Saiz put the Bruins on the board with a 2-yard touchdown plunge in the fourth quarter.

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