Rangers run away early, crush Crusaders

Posted 3/17/21

It’s probably a good thing that the visiting players can’t see the football field and the team that’s waiting for them when their bus parks just south of Quilcene High …

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Rangers run away early, crush Crusaders


It’s probably a good thing that the visiting players can’t see the football field and the team that’s waiting for them when their bus parks just south of Quilcene High School.

They might not want to get off the bus.

Tacoma Baptist was the latest to get a rough reception from the Rangers, with Quilcene crushing the Crusaders 40-6.

Tacoma Baptist scored its only touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter, with 1:20 left to play.

But it could have been much, much worse. The Rangers had more than a few fumbles and miscues during the showdown at home, but the Quilcene defense held firm after each turnover.

“They’ve been playing super good this year,” Ranger Coach Trey Beathard said of his defense.

“I’m really happy with how they have been playing. I think that only one time this season a team has scored on the first-team defense,” he said. “They’ve been doing really well.”

That score came in last week’s matchup against Evergreen Lutheran, when the Rangers fumbled an onside kick and ensuing penalties put the Eagles in scoring position.

Last week’s game also featured a turnover on the Rangers’ opening drive, a sour note that echoed again on Quilcene’s first possession Saturday against the Crusaders.

That fumble on the opening drive prompted Beathard to vow, next time, to give their opponents the first crack at the ball.

“Offensively, I think that we have the ability to be pretty good but we make just a few too many mistakes,” the coach said. “And that’s limited us some.

“It’s a little hard,” Beathard added. “Sometimes when you’re up, to keep that concentration and intensity, to be honest with you.”

Such shortcomings couldn’t be seen on the scoreboard Saturday.

The Rangers rout started in the first quarter. Quilcene led 21-0 with 4:20 to go in the first quarter.

Bishop Budnek finished with 15 carries for 157 yards, which included touchdown runs of 47 and 20 yards.

He also put six points on the board after a scoop and score after the Rangers’s Deakon Budnek blocked a frantic Crusader punt attempt in Tacoma Baptist’s red zone.

Ashton Johnston added to the Ranger rushing total with three carries for 17 yards and also added a 10-yard touchdown run.

Kevin Alejo took the ball 23 yards on five carries, while Donovin Opulencia-Rogers ran the ball twice for 20 yards.

Shannon Kutler also had a carry for four yards for Quilcene.

The Ranger air attack was led by Nathan Kieffer, who completed 2-of-3 passes for 72 yards and two touchdowns.

Beathard noted his best pass of the game — a sideline throw deep in Crusader territory that looked like a sure touchdown — was dropped, however.

On the receiving end, Zach Budnek caught two passes, both for touchdowns, from 7-yards out and 65 yards.

Kevin Alejo was outstanding on defense. He lead the team with 13 tackles and did an excellent job on kickoff coverage, the coach said. He also had two interceptions, and carried one back for 30-plus yards.

Zach Budnek had 12 tackles and did an excellent job on extra point snapping and kicking off, Beathard noted, and Cash Thacker added eight tackles and a fumble recovery.

Johnston had an outstanding game from his defensive end position, with nine tackles, most coming in the first half. Deakon Budnek had six tackles, and Jeremy Allen finished with two tackles and added another interception (the fourth of his short career at Quilcene).

Beathard said games during this shortened spring football may help the team if football returns as normal in the fall. He likened it to the off-season football in Texas where he once coached.

“This is almost like spring training,” Beathard said.

“We have a lot of good players this year,” the coach said. “Even like three years ago, we were saying that when these kids are seniors, we should have a really, really good team.”

“It’s a little disappointing that we don’t really have state playoffs and everything,” he added.

On Saturday, Tacoma came into the game 2-1, and the Rangers responded.

“We just have a lot more good players than they do. I’m not trying to be a jerk; we just do. They got some good players, too. And they had a winning record coming in.”

Beathard was looking forward to a potential rematch with Evergreen Lutheran.

“I’m just want us to keep improving and getting better and better in practice,” he said.


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