Sehome High School Mariners took a homecoming victory for the first time in 11 years on Friday, October 11th at Civic Stadium. The win came as a result of what coach Kevin Beason said were four complete quarters of football. “Offense, defense and special teams worked together to take home a victory.”

The Mariners faced the Cedarcrest Red Wolves, taking a 35-14 win and moving into first place in the Northwest Conference’s Class 2A Lake Division. The win over the Red Wolves meant the Mariners moved on to the playoffs this season. “The importance to me was really making sure we were number one in the conference,” said senior defensive end/offensive guard Rylie Bair.

For coach Beason, every night with his players is special, and when they perform for their community and fans—well, that’s even better. The team came together to play a cohesive game and it paid off, he said.

Their consistent strategy was displayed by a fairly even 233 yards rushing and 148 passing from the Mariners.

The Mariners defeated the Cedarcrest Red Wolves 35-14 on Friday, October 11th and moved into first in the Northwest Conference’s Class 2A Lake Division. Photo credit: Suzanne Bair

The game started with a shocking trick play from the Red Wolves that resulted in them scoring on a 69-yard pass within the game’s first seconds. While the fans may have been disheartened, senior inside linebacker/running back Dawson Smith said the team’s mood wasn’t impacted. The Mariners quickly took back control to score a 12-yard touchdown run.

“On our first drive, we established the run, which was new for our team, and that’s when we knew we could take the entire game,” said Bair.

When asked about other key moments in the game, the players answered in unison, “Oh, Dorsch’s!” On a second-down in the third quarter, sophomore running back/defensive back Colin Dorsch jumped the out route of the Red Wolves receiver to intercept the pass for a Mariners pick. “It was crazy because he was talking about how he was going to jump the out route and get a pick—and he totally did it,” said Smith.

That wasn’t the only strong defensive play from the Mariners. Smith said a major goal of the night was to put constant pressure on the Red Wolves quarterback to keep things where the Mariners wanted them. “We accomplished our goal.”

Head coach Kevin Beason joined the Mariners in 2017. Photo credit: Suzanne Bair

The decade-long run of homecoming losses wasn’t the only record the players were proud to break. Both Bair and Smith entered the team as freshmen and completed their first season without a single Mariners victory. Coming off that 0-10 season was difficult, Smith said, not only for the players, but for the school and the team’s fans. People were losing faith.

Now, in their last season, they say their team is completely different.

Thanks to leadership from coach Beason, who joined the Mariners during Bair and Smith’s sophomore season in 2017, the team has new life. “There’s a huge difference between the entire mood of the team and toward the team,” said Smith.

Beason changed the team’s attitude and, as a result, the entire school and fans changed their outlook on Mariners football.

While the 2017 season wasn’t perfect, the Mariners ended on a positive note with a four-game winning streak, finishing the season with a 41-point victory over Blaine. From that point on, the team knew they were capable of more.

Team captains Jacob Kaepernick, Dawson Smith, Rylie Bair, and Colin Dorsch enter the field at Civic Stadium. Photo credit: Suzanne Bair

Another big change for the team has been an end to their “nomadic” schedule. Bair and Smith began their Mariners careers on the old Sehome field (prior to renovations), then spent two years traveling for practices, before finally coming home to the new field their senior year. Coach Beason echoed the value of the new facilities for the team, saying that they can now just “settle in.”

“We are truly blessed with first-rate facilities,” Beason said.

Looking to the future, Bair and Smith are ready for the playoffs to start—to show the community, and themselves, that the Mariners deserve to be there. “Showing that we belong there, that’s what I look forward to,” Smith said.

Northwest Conference’s Class 2A Lake Division playoffs begin with game one on Friday, November 1st.

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