ABERDEEN — Special-teams miscues put a hamper on Quilcene’s upset bid, as the seventh-seeded Rangers fell 50-46 to the No. 2 Naselle Comets in the Class 1B state football quarterfinals on Friday at Stewart Field.
“It was a good game that we lost on special teams, really,” Quilcene head coach Trey Beathard said. “They outplayed us in that department. Part of that is we didn’t practice it as much lately as we should have, but its been getting dark. It’s been hard to see the ball around 4:45 p.m. I’ve asked our student manager to go turn on the lights, but we don’t have lights [at the Rangers’ home field].”
Quilcene (8-2) had a punt blocked in the first quarter that the Rangers recovered in their own end zone. Unfortunately for Quilcene, a referee’s whistle had blown inadvertently, giving the Comets (11-0), the ball at the Rangers’ 2-yard line.
Naselle recovered two second-quarter onside kicks to build a 42-22 lead at halftime, despite two Quilcene touchdowns by Bishop Budnek and another Chase Newman touchdown run.
“Naselle just didn’t make quite as many mistakes as us, they only turned it over once,” Beathard said. “We had a couple picks, a blocked punt and two onsides kicks and those were probably the difference in the game.”
Budnek ran in from 23 yards out in the third quarter as the Rangers trailed 50-30 heading into the final period. He ended the night with 29 carries for 360 yards.
“We lost the game [Friday night], but those Naselle defenders will be feeling it [Saturday].”
Two more Budnek TDs and two-point conversions followed, but Quilcene couldn’t come any closer than 50-46.
“We cut it to four and there was still about three or four minutes left in the game,” Beathard said. “We had them on fourth down a time or two and just didn’t end up holding them. We tried a couple of onside kicks at the end when we scored, we typically kick it deep.
“The kids never gave up and played hard the whole game. It was a game until the end. I’m proud of how the kids played in the game and they had a real good year. We got better — we are a lot better team now than we were earlier in the year. All our kids were healthy at the end and when we have all our kids we are better.”
The Rangers will graduate starting quarterback/defensive back Holdem Elkins, lineman Kristian Mack, Max Redmon, Zackery McIntyre, Isaac Dugdale and Harmony Scholz.
“We don’t have much depth on the offensive line coming back, so we are going to have to try and get a few more of these younger kids ready. And we don’t have much size coming up, but there are a few kids at school that want to play. Get a couple of those kids and get our younger kids bigger and better and we will see what happens.”
Naselle 50, Quilcene 46
Quilcene 8 14 8 16— 46
Naselle 28 14 8 0— 50
Q— Bishop Budnek 6 run (B. Budnek run)
Q—Newman 9 run (Zach Budnek pass from Elkins)
Q—B. Budnek 9 pass from Elkins (run failed)
Q— B. Budnek 23 run (B. Budnek run)
Q— B. Budnek 3 run (B. Budnek run)
Q— B. Budnek 7 run (B. Budnek run)
Rushing—Q: B. Budnek 29-360, Dugdale 6-31, Newman 9-26, Smead 1-1, Elkins 3-(-11).
Passing—Q: Elkins 4-11-67, TD, 2 INTs.
Receiving—Q: Newman 2-33, B. Budnek 1-9, Smead 1-10.