CHEHALIS – W.F. West knew which weapons Capital would bring to the 2A Evergreen Conference football game Friday night.
Knowing is one thing … stopping is another.
Kai Van Sickle rushed for 214 yards and four touchdowns, and quarterback Derrick Becker threw for one touchdown and ran for another as the Cougars clinched a spot in the Class 2A playoffs with a 42-14 victory over the Bearcats.
Van Sickle and Becker were known quantities, but the Cougars’ defense also was a weapon. Capital limited W.F. West quarterback Tanner Gueller to 89 yards passing and no touchdowns, and the Cougars turned two takeaways into points.
“We knew they wanted to throw,” Capital coach J.D. Johnson said. “We mixed up some coverages on him, changed up our pressure on him, and got after it.”
Capital (7-1 overall, 3-1 in Evergreen Conference) can finish no worse than second in the conference, with a homecoming finale next week against River Ridge. Capital’s only loss was to EvCo front-runner Tumwater.
“The goal is still to win the state championship,” Johnson said. “We feel we let one slip away against Tumwater, and that’s fueled our fire a little bit.”
On an eight-play, 75-yard opening drive, Van Sickle injected a dash of flash when he broke loose for a 38-yard touchdown run.
Less than a minute later, after Gueller found Alex Cox for a 26-yard gain on his first pass, Dylan Verderico found a seam and sprinted 41 yards for the equalizer.
Capital overcame three holding penalties – one of which nullified a 72-yard Van Sickle TD run – on a 10-play drive capped by a 3-yard run by Becker, who outran the pursuit as he swept around the right side. A Becker completion of 31 yards to Tad Maiava and a 20-yard Van Sickle run had moved the Cougars into the red zone.
After a W.F. West fumble in its own end was recovered by Capital’s Zach Smith, Becker hit Jakob Racimo with a 5-yard scoring pass. The Cougars added two points on a Van Sickle conversion run.
Another Bearcats miscue just before halftime – a Gueller pass intercepted by Chase Beesley – gave Capital a short field again. Van Sickle scored on a 5-yard run with 12 seconds left, and the Cougars led at halftime, 29-7.
Early in the second half, Trei Kline tipped a pass, intercepted it at the Cougars’ 15 and returned it to inside the 1 for W.F. West (6-2, 2-2 EvCo), and Verderico scored four plays later to make it 29-14.
Van Sickle broke out of a scrum at the line of scrimmage and found daylight on a 36-yard touchdown run then added an 8-yard TD run in the fourth quarter to end the scoring.