Football: Scot Seniors Take A Bow

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Photo by Rob Oxford

By Rob Oxford

There’s no question that a come-from-behind win in dramatic fashion can galvanize any team going forward. But in this writer’s opinion, so can a Senior Night victory. This past Friday night, October 25, 2019 the Shorecrest Highlanders paid homage to their senior athletes and they did it with an exciting 35 - 7 win over the Lynnwood Royals.

For the past 3 years The Highlander Football Gridiron Group has been purchasing 2’ x 3’ posters for the Seniors playing in their final home game, proudly displaying them behind the team’s bench for family and fans to see. These are the night's heroes. Most if not all of these players have endured the Two-A-Days, summer heat, driving rain, grueling practices, tough losses and exciting wins as members of the Scots for all four of their high school years.

It is always an emotional night. One that begins in the normal fashion with the team being led onto the field by the Highland Pipers playing “Scotland The Brave,” but on this night they are accompanied by their family members. This particular song and tradition never fail to make the hair on this reporter's arms stand up and will occasionally bring a tear to my eye that I attempt to quickly wipe away.

Once on the field, Coach Brandon Christensen will present each senior player with a bouquet of flowers to be passed on to their loved one. A photo is then taken on the field of the family and their warrior. Special thanks to Kassandra Morga-Baisac, a team mom and volunteer photographer, who’ll have to forgo the duties next year as her son Zane will be one of the night's honored Scots.

Senior Linebacker and Co-Captain James Huffman with Mom (Naoko) and Dad (Jeff)
Photo by Kassandra Morga-Baisac
 

Once the celebration has ended and the National Anthem is played, it’s time to get down to business and play football.

From the beginning the Scots appeared to have no problem establishing their offense. A few changes were made to the Offensive Line which appeared to give Senior QB Eladio Fountain a little more time to choose his targets. A quick pass to #1 Carlos Torres gained 13 yards and the Scots were on the move. During the first couple of offensive series, coaches are trying to decide what will and won’t work. Early on, completions to Torres and Jacob Cruz indicated the Scots had already established the night's passing attack. Now the ground game needed to do its thing. The duo of Markus and Marcus (Selzler and Tidwell) began to bust its way through the Lynnwood Royals Defense while the occasional off-tackle run by Junior Gabe Nelson kept the Royals guessing.

At 6:58 to go in the first quarter, the Scots drew first blood with a 7 yard run up the middle by 6’0 230lb RB Markus Selzler. This deep into the Scots season, it is obvious Selzler still prefers to run over instead of around his opponent.

During the next series, the Scots Defense immediately clamped down on Lynnwood. Royals QB Nate Killen, who seemed to be running for his life most of the night, would have some shining moments, but on a QB keeper was swallowed up by James Huffman, Robbie Oxford and Selzler, resulting in a loss of 10 yards. Lynnwood was forced to punt.

For the next few minutes, possession of the ball would change hands several times without much fanfare. While Scots Senior Lineman Abi Sidhu and Andrew Pellham did their job opening holes, the Royals Defense did their best filling them.

Following a Scots turnover, a promising Lynnwood drive was halted when a long pass was broken up by Scots Senior Savion Lucero. Unfortunately, a 'roughing the passer' penalty was called on Shorecrest and the Royals were given a new set of downs with which to work. Lynnwood QB Nate Killen would then connect on a nicely thrown 38-yard pass to Zayn Alrobae and Lynnwood appeared as though they were about to put points on the board.

On 3rd and 2 an ill-advised run up the middle was stifled by the Scots “Darkside” D consisting of Matthew Potter and Jaxon Taylor. Choosing to go for the jugular on 4th and 2, Killen attempted a pass to a wide-open Zach Newson that in all likelihood should have been caught, but the dropped pass allowed the Scots to take possession on their own 2-yard line.

During the next series the Scots again struggled moving the ball and Senior Punter Davis Stallings was called on to give the Defense a little more breathing room.

Tight secondary coverage by Zane Morga-Baisac and Mo Dean kept the Royals from completing most of their pass attempts on the night and for the most part the “Darkside D” kept the ball-carriers in check. After an ineligible receiver downfield marked off an additional 10 against Lynnwood, Co-Captain and Senior Damarius Kellogg-Duncan sacked the Lynnwood QB for a 6 yard loss. A big play from the big man.

After switching sides for the 2nd quarter, Fountain immediately connected on a 30-yard strike to Jacob Cruz. Continuing their attack through the air, the next pass would be a 36 yarder to Senior Gannon Dow. This would be a big night for the often times over-looked Dow. A few plays later with his pocket collapsing, Fountain floated a pass to Dow in the corner of the end zone which bobbled at first, was secured for the score. His first touchdown of the season, the excitement was overwhelming. Not only for the player, but certainly for his teammates, coaches and his Mom Heather who never misses a game.

With the Scots up 14 – 0 and time winding down in the first half, Lynnwood needed to get something started. Unfortunately, during this particular contest it would be the visitors committing most of the night’s penalties. Several sideline violations and personal fouls prevented the Royals from developing any sort of meaningful momentum. When forced to once again punt, it would be Player of the Week candidate Des Fox, one of the most explosive players on the Scots roster, who would take it to the house.

Senior Lineman Mac Holland with Mom (Lora) and Dad (Les)
Photo by Kassandra Morga-Baisac
 

Leading 21 – 0 at the end of the first half, Mother Nature herself was about to make Senior Night even more interesting for fans of both teams.

Just as the Scots had begun to reassemble for the 3rd quarter kickoff, a massive bolt of lightning flashed across the sky. Both teams quickly headed back into the locker room for the 15-minute delay as mandated by Washington State High School Athletics and the skies opened up for a downpour not unlike that of a “Texas Gully Washer”. The hard rain mixed with hail sent those not already undercover running for “higher and dryer ground”.

Once given the all clear, both teams and fans took their respective positions and the 2nd half was soon underway.

With :18 seconds left in the 3rd quarter, Lynnwood finally put up 6 points when QB Nate Killen, scrambling to keep out of the clutches of the Scots “Darkside”, connected on a short pass to Senior RB Daniel Tran. The extra point was good and with that lone score the Royals put to rest any chance of a Shorecrest shutout.

However, not quite satisfied with a two-touchdown lead, Eladio Fountain tossed a swing pass to Des Fox who again showed his ability to outrun and outmaneuver tacklers by scampering 62 yards for his second score of the night. With 11:44 left in the game, if the Scots lead wasn’t at this point “commanding”, it had just become so.

After another defensive stop, the Scots took possession with 5:58 seconds on the clock and once again Fountain connected with his teammate Gannon Dow on a 30-yard pass and another 6 points. His second touchdown of the season, this would be the most memorable of nights for the Scots #5 and his family.

The Scots recorded their 6th win of the season with a final score of 35 – 7 and will travel north to play Ferndale next week.

Senior Night is all about Family. Whether it be your extended family or “school” family, this night is one to be remembered forever. In recognition of their hard work and accomplishments this season, we would like to official acknowledge these 2020 senior athletes.

Senior Scots

Diego Angel-Cruz
Jacob Cruz
Gannon Dow
Eladio Fountain
Mac Holland
James Huffman
Damarius Kellogg-Duncan
Savion Lucero
Andrew Pellham
Matthew Potter
Markus Zelzler
Abi Sidhu
Davis Stallings
Carlos Torres
Dereck Williams
Zuze Benito





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