SHORELINE — The final point spread of the Shorecrest football team’s 24-6 loss to Mariner last week doesn’t exactly jump off the page. And it certainly doesn’t do the Scots justice.
A game few expected to be close remained competitive well into the fourth quarter, when the Marauders pulled away in the Western Conference 4A South Division opener with two scores in the final five minutes.
Mariner’s Ken Mishima capped a seven-minute drive with an 18-yard field goal at the 4:36 mark of the fourth quarter and Greg Heist added a 6-yard touchdown run off an interception two minutes later to seal the win Sept. 12 at Shoreline Stadium.
“People are going to look at that score and think whatever they want,” Shorecrest coach Mike Wollan said. “But the bottom line is, this was a ballgame well into the fourth quarter.”
Time of possession was split right down the middle, Shorecrest’s defense kept Mariner’s powerful running attack in check most of the night — only two runs went for more than 20 yards — and the Scots were within a touchdown of the Marauders going into the fourth quarter.
“No team expected us to come out and play like this,” senior linebacker Collin Small said. “Everyone expected this to be a blowout and we held with them.”
Mariner took a 7-0 lead four minutes into the second quarter when quarterback Moa Palepale spun away from the oncoming rush and found Jerod Grant all alone on a broken play for a 33-yard touchdown.
The Scots (0-1 league, 1-1 overall) answered with a nine-play, 83-yard scoring drive capped by Shane Hoffman’s 1-yard dive over the pile with 3:29 left in the half. Hoffman rushed for 44 of his team-high 53 yards in the first half and finished with 143 all-purpose yards.
With Mariner (1-0, 2-0) keyed on containing Hoffman and the run, the Scots gained most of their yardage through the air. Junior quarterback Jon Glancy completed all three of his passes on Shorecrest’s scoring drive for 61 yards.
The Scots continued to rely on their passing game in the second half, with mixed results.
“We had to,” Wollan said. “With the size they have, we couldn’t quite get through. We were close … but we weren’t physical enough to move them out of the way. That’s why we had to adjust to no (running) back and we had them scrambling for a while.”
A 15-yard pass to Sam Kastel on third-and-12 pushed the Scots into Mariner territory to open the third quarter. But a motion penalty two plays later thwarted the drive and Shorecrest went three-and-out on its next two possessions.
Grant’s 44-yard punt return set up wideout Aaron Cartwright’s 10-yard TD sweep that gave the Marauders a 14-6 advantage with 34 seconds left in the third quarter.
“We gave them a short field a few times and a good team will take advantage of that eventually,” Wollan said.
Picked by many to as the favorite to capture the league title this season, Mariner finished with 216 rushing yards to Shorecrest’s 65. The Marauders ran for 105 yards in the fourth quarter.
“They’re the top team,” Small said. “If we play like that, we’ll be in the running every game. We played as tough as we could.”
Glancy was 8-for-16 for 97 yards and one interception and senior linebacker A.J. Collins supplied 12 tackles to lead the Scots defensively.