SHORELINE — Looking to snap a three-game losing skid, the Shorecrest football team turned to the ground game.
And between their 220-pound workhorse and a 260-pound center-turned-fullback, the Scots’ punishing rushing attack was nearly unstoppable.
Shorecrest rushed for 426 yards and climbed back into the heart of the Wesco 3A South postseason mix with a 52-24 win over visiting Meadowdale on Friday night at Shoreline Stadium.
“We’ve had a rough couple of weeks,” Shorecrest coach Brandon Christensen said. “We were trying to find our identity after the losses in the middle of the season, (and) the kids found it tonight.
“All year we’ve been preaching attitude and effort, and tonight they came out with the attitude that we asked them to. And it showed.”
Markus Selzler, a hard-running junior, led the Scots’ physical rushing attack with 278 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries. Gabe Reyes, typically the team’s starting center, moved to fullback and rumbled for 80 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
Shorecrest (4-3 overall, 3-2 Wesco 3A South) averaged eight yards per carry and scored all seven of its touchdowns on the ground. The Scots attempted just six passes.
“We wanted to come out and set an attitude,” Christensen said of his team’s rushing attack. “We wanted to have an identity coming out in this game, and we just got on a roll. It was working, and we didn’t have to go away with it.”
After following their first 3-0 start since 2005 with three consecutive losses, the Scots got back on track with a resounding victory.
With one conference game remaining, Shorecrest is one of three two-loss teams in Wesco 3A South play — along with Shorewood and Meadowdale — that are vying for the league’s No. 2 seed. Snohomish secured the Wesco 3A South title Friday night with a rout of Lynnwood.
For Meadowdale, the loss ended its conference-title hopes. The Mavericks (3-4, 3-2) entered the night needing wins in their final two regular-season games to clinch at least a share of the Wesco 3A South crown.
Selzler keyed the Scots’ dominant rushing attack, showcasing a combination of speed and power while averaging 9.6 yards per carry and delivering a number of highlight-reel plays.
One such play came late in the first half, when the 220-pound workhorse burst up the middle, broke a tackle and bounced outside for a 36-yard touchdown run to give Shorecrest a 21-7 lead.
Selzler broke another long scoring run early in the third quarter, slipping out of a tackle and sprinting down the left sideline for a 40-yard touchdown to extend the margin to 31-7.
In the fourth quarter, Selzler lowered his shoulder and bulldozed a defender the final few yards into the end zone for a bruising 10-yard score that made it 45-24 with less than eight minutes to play.
“He was outstanding,” Christensen said. “Once we saw what we had in the first half with him, we just rode him in the second half. It was a great performance by him and our offensive line.”
Reyes had long been asking his coaches for a chance to carry the football. On Friday night, after being moved from center to fullback, the opportunity came.
Reyes, a 260-pound rugby player who’d never before carried the football in a varsity game, complemented Selzler as a change-of-pace back and rumbled through Meadowdale’s defense for several big tackle-breaking runs.
The senior’s biggest gains came in the fourth quarter, when he bulldozed for a pair of 15-yard runs before breaking a 21-yarder and scoring on a 1-yard touchdown plunge.
“He’s been begging,” Christensen said. “… When they started keying on Markus, we needed a little bit of a changeup. And he certainly did his part.”
SHORECREST’S DEFENSE BENDS, BUT DOESN’T BREAK
Meadowdale drove inside the Shorecrest 25-yard line on each of its first three possessions, but came away with no points.
The Mavericks’ first possession ended with a missed 36-yard field-goal attempt, and their second drive stalled with a turnover on downs. Meadowdale drove to the Shorecrest 12 on its third possession, but a third-down sack pushed the Mavericks out of field-goal range and led to another turnover on downs.
In the third quarter, Shorecrest stuffed Meadowdale on a fourth-and-goal run just inches from the end zone to thwart yet another Meadowdale scoring chance.
– Meadowdale junior receiver Mason Vaughn caught eight passes for 151 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown reception.
– Shorecrest sophomore kicker Gavin Dalziel showcased his strong leg with a 39-yard field goal as the first half expired, giving the Scots a 24-7 halftime lead.
– Meadowdale senior linebacker Zach So was injured on a play late in the first half. The game was stopped for several minutes before he was taken off the field on a cart.