No game has been easy for Capital High School in the new Class 3A South Sound Conference, but by its end, the 42-14 victory over Shelton on Friday had the feel of a tuneup for the postseason.
Capital (6-3, 5-2 3A SSC) won its fifth game in its last six at Highclimber Stadium.
Coach John Johnson said the Cougars had moments of sloppiness, possibly due to knowing that win or lose they would open the playoffs next weekend at seventh-ranked Ferndale (8-1).
“We’ll have our hands full next week,” Johnson said. “We can’t have a night like tonight when we’re not so put together.”
On Shelton’s senior night, three Capital seniors led the Cougars’ stat parade.
Carson Bertelli completed 9 of 17 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns. Nathan Tyler pounded out 127 yards on 23 carries and scored twice. Chris Schnellman caught two scoring passes.
Shelton (3-6, 2-5) will not advance to the playoffs, but completed a few gems in the regular-season finale.
Kyle Kimball led the Highclimbers with two interceptions.
“Kyle Kimball plays 48 minutes of football,” Shelton coach Matt Hinkle said. “He’s a scrapper.”
Capital’s path to the game’s first points was interrupted first by an interception by Kimball deep in Highclimbers territory and then, after a short punt from the end zone, by the block of a 27-yard field-goal attempt by Chris Penner.
But after Capital sophomore Regan Divina intercepted Shelton’s Tyler Giraldes, the Cougars were in business at the Highclimbers’ 15. One play later, Penner took a lateral pass from Carson Bertelli, and lobbed the football to Schnellman for a 12-yard touchdown.
It was Schnellman, again, on the end of a scoring pass early in the second quarter, this one from 5 yards out from Bertelli to cap a 75-yard Cougars drive.
Kimball’s second interception of gave the Highclimbers possession at the Capital 43, and after a 19-yard run by senior Willy Ruiz, Giraldes took a keeper for a 1-yard touchdown.
Capital took a 21-7 lead to intermission after the Highclimbers’ failed fake punt gave the Cougars a short field at the 37. A 23-yard Nathan Tyler scamper was the big gainer in the series, which he capped with a 2-yard scoring punch.
Bertelli’s second scoring pass of the night covered 64 yards to a wide-open Chase Martin, who outran a pair of defenders to the end zone.
Jack Collard picked off Giraldes and returned it 35 yards to the end zone to put the Cougars up 35-7.
A 26-yard Giraldes pass to senior Skyler Ross set up the Highclimbers’ final touchdown, which came on a 30-yard pass-run play to Ruiz, who bumped through a defender at the 5, and bounced into the end zone.
Bertelli hit Penner for a 41-yard gainer early in the fourth quarter, and, after Tyler ripped off runs of 8 and 11 yards, he went the last yard into the end zone standing up.
C – Chris Schnellman 12 pass from Chris Penner (Penner kick)
C – Schnellman 5 pass from Carson Bertelli (Penner kick)
S – Tyler Giraldes 1 run (Adrianna Schuman kick)
C – Nathan Tyler 2 run (Penner kick)
C – Chase Martin 64 pass from Bertelli (Penner kick)
C – Jack Collard 35 interception return (Penner kick)
S – Willy Ruiz 30 pass from Giraldes (Schuman kick)
C – Tyler 1 run (Penner kick)