Quilcene Rangers beat Odessa Tigers, will play for state title in 1B football

Posted 12/1/21

History.

They made it.

But they aren’t yet done living it.

The Rangers ran roughshod over Odessa 36-12 in the state 1B football semifinals Saturday in Moses Lake.

With the upset win …

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Quilcene Rangers beat Odessa Tigers, will play for state title in 1B football

Posted

History.

They made it.

But they aren’t yet done living it.

The Rangers ran roughshod over Odessa 36-12 in the state 1B football semifinals Saturday in Moses Lake.

With the upset win against the defending state champs at Lions Field, the Rangers will play for the state title Dec. 4 at Mount Tahoma High School.

The journey to the state football finals will mark the Rangers’ first-ever trip to the big dance.

Quilcene (10-1) will battle the Almira-Coulee-Hartline Warriors (10-0) in the championship matchup.

ACH advanced to the championships with a 68-32 victory against Naselle in Moses Lake Saturday.

Quilcene entered the game as the No. 3 seed while Odessa was the No. 2 seed.

The Rangers led from start to finish.

Afterward, the team waited until they got into the locker room to give their traditional “We won!” cheer.

“We felt good about it. The kids were excited,” Quilcene Coach Trey Beathard said in a bit of an understatement.

“I think the kids are a little bit tired physically and emotionally. I know I am,” he added.

Quilcene had faced the Tigers before in the state playoffs, in the 2018 semifinals where the Tigers won convincingly, 65-6, on their way to the state title.

This year’s game looked to be another tall order for Quilcene. Odessa came in averaging more than 61 points a game against their opponents.

Quilcene’s defense held them to just two touchdowns, and no extra points.

The Rangers were pretty pumped before the game, Beathard recalled. The locker room walls couldn’t contain the overabundance of excitement.

“I could hear our kids in there; screaming, yelling, and everything else. I walked in and said, “Guys, it’s 2 o’clock and weren’t not going to play until 4. Calm down.”

The game was tied at 6-all at the end of the first quarter.

Quilcene scored two unanswered touchdowns in the second stanza for a 20-6 advantage.

The Tigers put six more on the board in the third — their last offensive mark in the game, as the Rangers outscored Odessa 16-6 in the second half.

Credit the stout Ranger defense.

Quilcene stopped the Tigers on more than one fourth-down stand, when Odessa time and time again went for it on the final down, sometimes in the red zone.

But the Rangers stood their ground.

“I really felt like our defense played exceptional,” Beathard said.

“Our kids get it. And they played really, really hard. They didn’t play perfectly,” he added. “It’s possible for us to play better.”

Quilcene rolled to 273 rushing yards, led by senior Bishop Budnek’s 240 yards on
37 carries. Kevin Alejo carried nine times for 29 yards, while Shannon Kutler carried three times for eight yards.

Alejo also had two receptions for 17 yards.

Budnek led the team offensively. He scored four touchdowns for the Rangers and four points on conversions for 28 total points.

Eighth-grader Jayden Love added Quilcene’s other touchdown score. He also had a 55-yard punt return.

On the defensive end, Alejo and Dominic Smith both had interceptions.

Deakon Budnek and Johnston both had a fumble recovery in the matchup.

Deakon Budnek also led the team in total tackles, with 14 (three solo, 11 assisted). Johnston had 10 (three solo, seven assisted) and Smith added seven (one solo, six assisted).

The Rangers’ reliance on the running game paid off big time.

Quilcene controlled the clock, totaling
36 minutes of possession to the Tigers’ 12. That’s basically three quarters of the Rangers with the ball.

The stats weren’t so lopsided in the number of total plays (Quilcene, 56; Odessa, 50), first downs (Rangers, 19; Tigers, 12), and penalties (Quilcene, five for 45 yards; Odessa, seven for 50 yards).

Beathard said the team had a goal of finishing the season with the Rangers’ best-ever record.

They’ve done that.

And now they have a chance to do something else unrecorded in school history: Bring home a state championship.

“I feel like our kids have earned their way there,” Beathard said.

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