SPORTS: Nooksack Valley ends Chimacum’s football season with 21-7 win in playoffs

BELLINGHAM — The Chimacum Cowboys ran out of tomorrows.

After surviving four straight do-or-die games to get into the Class 1A preliminary playoffs, turnovers and missed opportunities cost the Cowboys in Friday night’s matchup with Northwest Conference power Nooksack Valley.

The Pioneers took advantage of five Chimacum turnovers to end the Cowboys’ season with a 21-7 victory at a drizzly Civic Stadium in Bellingham.

“If we played our ‘A’ game, that score would’ve been a lot different,” Chimacum coach Shawn Meacham said. “But I’m proud of every single one of my players.

“They gave me all that they can give me. That’s all a coach can ask. This team is a heck of a team, no matter what that score says.”

Friday’s loss ended a four-game winning streak for Chimacum, which overcame a 1-4 start to the season to make its first postseason trip in five years.

“I love every single one of the players out here,” said a tearful Devin Manix, one of 15 seniors to suit up Friday night.

“I always dreamed to take the way we played when we were little into high school, and we did it.

“We left it all on the field, and it’s just a hard way to end.”

Two years removed from back-to-back 1-9 seasons, the Cowboys came up just one win shy of the school’s fifth state appearance and first since 2005.

“I don’t know if I’ll have a connection with a group of kids like I’ve had with these kids,” Meacham said of the seniors, who he also coached at the middle school level.

“I’m going to really miss them.”

Meacham said Chimacum (5-5 overall) would have to avoid turnovers to beat the Pioneers (7-3).

And true to form, it was Nooksack’s plus-two turnover edge (5 to 3) that was the difference amid Friday night’s steady drizzle.

Nooksack outgained Chimacum by just 53 yards on the night (339-283), with all but eight Pioneer points coming after Cowboy giveaways in the first half.

“I don’t think it was the stage. I don’t think it was the elements,” Meacham said. “Sometimes, those things happen.

“And that’s a good team over there, too. We’re not going to take anything away from Nooksack. It just didn’t go our way today.”

Quarterback Tyler Perry accounted for 260 yards of offense on the game, running both Pioneer touchdowns on 10- and 32-yard scampers.

The senior showed few ill effects from a leg injury suffered a month ago, throwing for 160 yards on 17-of-24 passing with two interceptions and running for 100 yards on 15 carries.

“We thought that what [Perry] did was going to be the strength tonight,” Nooksack head coach Robb Myhre said. “And it ended up being [that way].”

Both of Perry’s scoring runs came on designed quarterback draws, with his 32-yard cutback run in the second quarter giving the Pioneers a 10-0 lead.

That play came just three snaps after a bobbled Cowboys punt snap gave Nooksack the ball inside Chimacum’s 35-yard line.

After the Cowboys gave the ball away for the fourth time in the first half — on a fumbled kickoff return — Nooksack’s Erik Swanson tacked on his second field goal from 29 yards out for a 13-0 halftime lead.

“It’s hard to have ourselves shoot ourselves in the foot like that when we could have come out a little bit better,” Manix said.

“Maybe the outcome would have been different, maybe not, but it’s hard.”

Manix played hurt as well on Friday, running for a team-high 86 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries despite separating his shoulder in last week’s win over Port Townsend.

The senior’s 10-yard touchdown run on the Cowboys’ first possession of the second half put the score at 13-7.

“It was painful the whole time, but it wasn’t worth missing a game, especially the last game,” said Manix, who got up slowly after a handful of carries during the game.

“This was the last chance I was going to get to play, and my team needed me.”

After Manix recovered a Nooksack Valley fumble on the Pioneers’ ensuing drive, Chimacum had all the momentum.

Yet three plays later, quarterback Mason Moug was popped just as he crossed midfield and coughed up the ball into the hands of a Nooksack defender.

Chimacum’s next drive — set up at the Nooksack 25 by a Derek Toepper interception and 45-yard return — stalled out after the Cowboys lost 14 yards on successive sacks to put them in an unmanageable fourth-and-long.

The Pioneers then drove 64 yards on seven plays, ending with a 10-yard Perry touchdown run, to take a commanding 21-7 lead with eight minutes to go.

“They were better than what I saw on film,” Myhre said of Chimacum. “Our first comment three plays into it was, ‘Boy, they are faster than what we thought.'”

Moug finished the game with 184 yards through the air on 8-of-15 passing with one interception.

He drove the Cowboys into Pioneer territory two more times in the fourth quarter, but each time the drive stalled.

The Pioneers’ constant pressure — Nooksack dropped Moug for a loss eight times in the game, and five times in the second half — had a lot to do with that.

Nooksack V. 21, Chimacum 7

Chimacum 0 0 7 0– 7

Nooksack Valley 3 10 0 8– 21

First Quarter

NV–Swanson 20 field goal

Second Quarter

NV–Tyl. Perry 32 run (Swanson kick)

NV–Swanson 29 field goal

Third Quarter

CH–Manix 8 run (Brown-Bishop kick)

Fourth Quarter

NV–Tyl. Perry 10 run (Handy from Tyl.. Perry)

Individual Stats

Rushing– CH: Manix 10-86, McConnell 7-38, Settlemire 4-12, Hare 1-6, Brown-Bishop 1-(minus 14), Moug 13-(minus 37). NV: Tyl. Perry 15-100, Myhre 9-34, Cragle 6-23, Torres 1-13.

Passing–CH: Moug 8-15-1, 184. NV: Tyl. Perry 17-24-2, 160; Myhre 1-7-0, 9.

Receiving– CH: Settlemire 2-79, McConnell 3-54, Toepper 1-29, Brown-Bishop 1-22, Manix 1-0. NV: VanderVliet 4-65, Handy 4-43, Handy 5-32, Myhre 4-18, Cragle 1-11.

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