QUILCENE GOES HEAD-FIRST INTO STATE PLAYOFFS

Rangers avenge early loss to Lummi

Posted 11/17/21

If Bishop Budnek wasn’t on the field, the Lummi Blackhawks might have had a chance.

The Quilcene Rangers punched their ticket to the state 1B football playoffs by leveling Lummi 61-34 …

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QUILCENE GOES HEAD-FIRST INTO STATE PLAYOFFS

Rangers avenge early loss to Lummi

Posted

If Bishop Budnek wasn’t on the field, the Lummi Blackhawks might have had a chance.

The Quilcene Rangers punched their ticket to the state 1B football playoffs by leveling Lummi 61-34 Saturday in Sequim.

Budnek, the Rangers’ unstoppable running back, scored more points than the entire Blackhawk team.

He rolled into the end zone for seven touchdowns and tacked on three two-point conversions, for a total of 48 points.

Budnek finished the game with 289 rushing yards.

The victory was a bit of payback for the 8-1 Quilcene team, which posted its only loss this season with a 28-22 second-game defeat to Lummi in September.

The win pushed the Rangers into the state football playoffs as the No. 3 seed. The victory gave Quilcene a first-round bye and the chance to be the home team in an area stadium game on Nov. 19 or Nov. 20.

“This is my eighth year at Quilcene and its the fourth time we played them. And it’s the first time we’ve won,” said Rangers Coach Trey Beathard.

“My grandpa used to say, ‘Even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while.’ So I guess it’s finally our time,” he added.

The Rangers led 6-0 at the end of the first quarter, then blew it open in the second with 25 more points to lead 31-6 at halftime.

Quilcene outscored the Blackhawks 16-14 in the third.

The teams traded touchdowns in the final stanza — two each on both sides — to settle the score at 61-34.

“They’re a good team and they just don’t give up,” Beathard said of the Blackhawks. “They just keep competing.”

That led to some anxious times on the Quilcene sideline, especially during several big-play moments that led to Lummi touchdowns.

“I didn’t feel comfortable. So I just decided to keep playing and playing and hope for the best,” Beathard said.

“We were a little lucky. They made some mistakes in the first half that we were able to kind of capitalize on.

“The last time we played them, we were the team that turned it over. We had a lot of turnovers the last time we played them,” he recalled. “That was a big difference.”

Several tackles that looked like sure stops ended up with the Blackhawks in the end zone.

“I think we still played pretty hard, we just made a few mistakes,” Beathard said. “We weren’t able to make a few tackles in open space and gave them some long plays.”

At halftime, Beathard said his message to the team was pretty straightforward.

“I just told them, we’ve got to keep playing. And so, last spring, we fell way behind against Evergreen and we came back and won.

“A few years ago, we played Sunnyside Christian in the quarterfinals and we got way behind. And we scored a touchdown right at the end of the half. And then we were still down by like 22 or 24, and we came back and won that game.

“I just told them, they’re going to play like we did when we played Sunnyside a few years ago. They are not going to give up; they’re going to keep playing.”

The Rangers found all their success in rushing the ball.

Quilcene’s passing game was nonexistent, with Nathan Kieffer completing 1-of-7 and ending up on the negative yardage end (-2).

Didn’t matter.

The Rangers finished with 340 rushing yards, with Bishop Budnek supplying 289 yards on 23 carries.

Kevin Alejo had nine carries for 30 yards, and Jayden Love ran the rock once for a 17-yard gain.

On defense, three Rangers finished with nine tackles. 

Budnek has seven solo and two assisted, while Dominic Smith added five solo tackles with four assisted, and Alejo had six solo and three assisted.

James Miller contributed eight tackles (four solo, four assisted) and teammate Ashton Johnston added eight, as well (three solo, five assisted).

The team finished with 67 tackles all told, with 42 solo tackles.

Alejo added an interception with a 64-yard return, and Isaiah Reimann also had a pick against the Blackhawks.

The Rangers recovered three fumbles (Jaxon Taylor, Alejo, and Miller with a 21-yard return).

The biggest — yes, most amazing — play of the game came from the Blackhawks’ side of the field.

Lummi was threatening to score from the Rangers’ 4-yard-line, when a series of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties against the Blackhawks — mostly due to profane language at the line of scrimmage — backed the Blackhawks up to their own 35-yard line.

On fourth down with 60 yards to go for the first down, and 65 to score, the Blackhawks went for it.

And got it. All the way into the end zone.

“That’s the longest first-down completion I’ve ever had. It was fourth down and 60 yards to go — and they made it,” Beathard said, his voice betraying the unbelievability of it all. 

“That was sort of disappointing,” he said. 

“But anyway, I’ve never even seen a play like that. When it first started, I’m going” ‘They are going to get a 60-yard first down!’

“Oh, well. It’s better today than in a close game.”

The Rangers will now have a week off to prepare for the winner of the DeSales-Winlock matchup this weekend.

“I have mixed feelings on getting byes,” the Ranger coach said.

“I kind of like to keep playing. It’s like it keeps us in practice, almost. Especially this time of year, it’s hard to go out and prepare for a game in two weeks,” Beathard said. 

“One big advantage for us, I’ve got a few kids who are still bummed up. The extra time would be a benefit for them to get a little more healthy,” he said.

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