Rangers overwhelm Eagles in one-sided matchup in Quilcene

Posted 3/5/21

The Rangers waited a little while to fire up the steamroller.

But when they did, Quilcene quickly crushed Evergreen Lutheran under the weight of a 27-point second quarter en-route to a 41-20 win …

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Rangers overwhelm Eagles in one-sided matchup in Quilcene


The Rangers waited a little while to fire up the steamroller.

But when they did, Quilcene quickly crushed Evergreen Lutheran under the weight of a 27-point second quarter en-route to a 41-20 win in boys varsity football.

It was the first league win for undefeated Quilcene (2-0) against a team that’s typically a marque matchup for the Rangers.

“That’s a big game for us,” Rangers Coach Trey Beathard said.

Beathard noted the Evergreen Lutheran was undefeated in league play with a 2-0 record, and came in following a victory over Nisqually League powerhouse Charles Wright Academy.

“They beat Charles Wright last week,” Beathard said of the Eagles, “and Charles Wright has won that league that Port Townsend and Chimacum have been in.”

Charles Wright, he said, has been the champs of the Nisqually League for five years running.

“And they just slaughter everybody. For Evergreen to beat Charles Wright, that was a great win for them,” Beathard said.

“I’ve been telling our kids that the team that won this game is going to take a big step toward winning this shortened season,” the coach added.

The Eagles scored first on a drive that saw Evergreen Lutheran overcome two fourth-down gambles — including the first touchdown score on a fourth-and-four pass to Eagles wide receiver Ethan Hoefler.

Evergreen went for two points but fell short, putting the Eagles up 6-0 with 7:45 left in the first stanza.

Quilcene evened the score on its first play, then took a two-point lead with a run into the end zone for an 8-6 lead — burning just 10 seconds off the clock in the process.

The enthusiasm on the Ranger sideline was so much that Beathard yelled to his players: “Guys, we don’t have to sign autographs after our one good play.”

Still, it was a Ranger rout from there on out.

The final Eagle scores came in the fourth after a substantial number of the Quilcene starters retired to the sidelines.

Beathard said he was expecting a closer game, given the history between the two teams.

“I was expecting a hard-fought game, to be honest with you,” Budnek said.

“We have some big strong lineman and they do a pretty good job of blocking the front. 

And then we have a pretty big back in Bishop [Budnek],” the coach said. “Defensive backs have a hard time tackling him once he gets going. He’s kind of a load out there.”

“We kind of sometimes are able to wear teams down a little bit,” the coach added. 

“People kind of start coming up tighter and tighter on us; if we can complete some play-action passes — and we were able to do that better today than last week, we threw the ball a lot better this week — that opens up a lot more stuff for us.

“It’s harder to defend a team that can throw and run,” Beathard said. “This week we able to throw quite a bit better.”

Zach Budnek, a senior OL/DL for the Rangers, said he was glad to return to 8-man football after the 6-man game the week before in the season opener against Crescent.

“It definitely helps the running game. With more people covering the field, it definitely helps,” Budnek said.

“I’m glad the team played well,” he added of the Rangers’ effort against the Eagles . “I’m really glad that we were mentally tough.”

Budnek caught four passes in the game for 117 yards and also contributed a 55-yard touchdown.

Bishop Budnek was nearly unstoppable by the Evergreen defense; he ran a dozen times for 259 yards and finished with two rushing TDs – one for 80 yards and one for seven yards.

He also ran in a 2-point conversion.

Other standouts for the Rangers included Kevin Alejo with seven carries for 31 yards and two touchdowns (one from 14 yards out and the other from three); Shannon Kutler with nine yards on two carries, plus a 2-point conversion; Donovin Opulencia-Rogers with seven carries for 40 yards; and Ashton Johnston with an eight-yard run.

Nathan Kieffer notched his first-ever start at quarterback, as senior captain Chase Newman saw limited time at quarterback and defensive back due to breaking his finger during the game.

Beathard said Kieffer did a tremendous job of throwing the football, completing 7-of-9 for 183 yards and two touchdowns. 

The powerful performance was made possible with an excellent job by the receivers and the offensive line of Deakon Budnek, James Miller, and Ashton Johnston, who gave him good protection and time to find open receivers, Beathard noted.

Isaiah Reimann also so some time in the QB position, and completed 2-of-2 passes for 35 yards.

On the receiving end, Austin Hough caught two passes for 45 yards and a 31-yard touchdown.

Shannon Kutler caught a pass for 11 yards, and Ashton Johnston hauled one in for 27 yards.

Dominic Smith had a completion for 18 yards.

On the other side of the ball for the Rangers, Cash Thacker paced the defense  with solo, assisted, and sacks together that totaled 20 tackles in all.

Zach Budnek had eight tackles and one blocked pass, and Hough had five tackles, two interceptions and one other pass defended.

The Rangers will play again at home Saturday, hosting Tacoma Baptist in a 1 p.m. start.

“I just want the kids to keep getting better,” Beathard said. 

“That’s what our goal is; to improve every week. Some times that’s harder to get the kids motivate to play their hardest and best and practice their hardest and best,” he said. “That’s my biggest concern.”


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