Football: Rotary Cup Recap

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Family photo at the Rotary Cup
Rod Mar, SC grad, does this every year

Football Rotary Cup 9/29 @ Shoreline Stadium
Shorecrest 42 - Shorewood 22

By Rob Oxford

Whether either team wants to admit it or not, the Rotary Cup between Shorecrest and Shorewood is undoubtedly the biggest game of the season sans any playoff. Made even more so by the presence of Chris Egan and the KING 5 “Yellow Jackets” who were there to film Friday Nights “Game of the Week” for broadcast. (See article here)

Chris Egan King 5 interviews QB
Eladio Fountain for the Big Game story
Photo by Rob Oxford
After a 30-minute delay due to lightning in the area, Shoreline Stadium had nearly reached its capacity when the 41st Annual Rotary Cup began.

Projected to be the dominant team in 3A WesCo South this year, with the exception of a convincing win over Everett, Shorecrest has looked anything but “dominant” in their first 4 games this season and last Friday’s matchup against Shorewood would once again test the team’s collective mettle.

Shorewood would receive the kickoff and maintain control of the ball for the first 7 minutes of the game. Although the Scots Defense appeared physical in their attack and were applying ample pressure, the Thunderbirds were able to weave their way down field amidst poor tackling and unnecessary penalties, something the Scots must address before their next away game at 2 – 2 Snohomish. Many a big play has been negated this year due to lack of discipline on the field.

The T-Birds were able to put the first points on the board after what appeared to be a punt situation caught the Scots off guard and extended the drive with a first down. Shorewood Quarterback Spencer Osborn then handed the ball to Ibrahim Benzina who scampered 12 yards into the end zone untouched.

During their first offensive series, Scots Quarterback Eladio Fountain again showcased his incredible arm by barely overthrowing a wide-open Des Fox, a play Coach Christensen would return to later in the game with a much different result. The Scots also made good use of the screen pass moving the ball into scoring position, but an errant pitch to Markus Selzler fell to the ground and was recovered by the Thunderbirds on their own 7-yard line, resulting in another stalled Shorecrest drive.

The Rotary Cup changes hands
Photo by Rob Oxford

Surprisingly, both the Scots Offense and Defense were tested the entire night as the Shorewood Coaching Staff seemed to have developed an effective game plan to combat the “favorites”.

Later in the 2nd quarter Robbie Oxford stepped up with 2 big plays to slow down the Thunderbird Offense. The first, a batted ball intended for a wide-open Shorewood Receiver and the second forcing a T-Bird ball carrier back inside on an attempted end around. The result was a fine defensive play by his teammates and a 7-yard loss for the Birds. Unfortunately, due to what was deemed a “blow to the head, dead ball personal foul,” Shorewood was given yet again, another fresh set of downs.

The Scots Defense would then muster an impressive goal line stand and keep Shorewood out of the end zone, sending both teams to the locker room with the Thunderbirds up 7 – 0 at the half.

The rain stopped just in time for the customary “Family Photo” taken by Seahawks Photographer Rod Mar, a Shorecrest Graduate, and the Scots were anxious to receive the second half kickoff.

Late in the 3rd Quarter, Offensive Coordinator Tommy Eulberg would dial up a similar pass play to the one just out of Des Fox’s reach in the first quarter. This time Eladio Fountain would deliver a beautifully thrown ball 45 yards to the sure-handed Fox and the Scots would be on the board. After Gavin Dalziel tacked on the PAT, the game would be all tied up and the momentum would seem to have shifted to the Home Team Scots.

The Thunderbirds continued to challenge the Scots, but after a fumble recovery in the 4th Quarter, Shorecrest would go back to what has so far been their bread and butter, the tandem running attack of Markus Selzler and Marcus Tidwell. Tidwell would eventually gallop through a giant hole opened up by the Scots O Line and Shorecrest would take the lead for good.

The responsibility for preserving the win would first fall on the shoulders of the Scots Defense who needed to stop the Thunderbirds from driving downfield during the closing minutes. A final 4th Down pass attempt by Osborn to tie the score was broken up by Shorecrest DB’s Jacob Cruz and Mo Dean.

With only minutes left on the clock and a 6 point lead, Fountain, Tidwell, Selzler and Junior Gabe Nelson would rely on the big fellas up front to chew up the clock by continuing to gain first down yardage. When they needed it most, 2-way starter James Huffman, Juniors Elijah Shultz, Jacob Halvorson, Jordan Glessener and Senior Damarious Kellogg-Duncan kept pushing the Thunderbirds Defense back towards their own end zone.

When the clock hit double zeros, many Highlander fans admitted it was an “ugly win,” but a win they’ll take nonetheless.


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