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Chiefs’ opener: ‘A true evaluation’

by CASEY MCCARTHY
Staff Writer | September 7, 2021 1:00 AM

MOSES LAKE — Moses Lake High School football faced a tough test from visiting Bothell High School in the season opener Saturday at Lions Field, falling 56-21.

The Moses Lake Chiefs fell behind 7-0 early after the first of six Bothell Cougars rushing touchdowns.

Less than four minutes later, senior Sergio Guzman responded with a rushing touchdown for the Chiefs.

Bothell ran for a score from 9 yards out before the end of the quarter to retake the lead. A Moses Lake fumble gave Bothell the ball back early in the second quarter before a 6-yard rushing score.

With the score at 21-7, Bothell picked off a Brock Clark pass. But then on a 4th and goal for Bothell, Hayden Throneberry intercepted a Bothell pass and prevented another score.

The Cougars’ barrage of passing and rushing touchdowns gave them a 35-7 lead at halftime.

Early in the third quarter, the Cougars expanded their lead with a passing touchdown. Then Moses Lake senior Asher Lindgren took in a touchdown pass from Clark.

After a pair of Bothell rushing scores, the score stood at 56-14 at the end of the third.

Throneberry hauled in a 50-plus-yard touchdown catch early in the fourth quarter to trim the lead, but the Chiefs were unable to cut into the deficit any further.

Clark finished with 199 yards passing, 35 yards rushing, two touchdown passes and two interceptions.

Sergio Guzman led the way in the running game, with 85 yards rushing.

Kyson Thomas nabbed six catches for 72 yards; Lindgren finished with six catches for 55 yards; and Throneberry had two catches for 71 yards and a score.

Guzman said it feels good getting back to a more normal schedule.

“Playing in front of the home crowd feels amazing. The energy’s here, we’ve just gotta win,” Guzman said.

Throneberry said it was a big adrenaline rush pulling down the interception in the end zone and making a touchdown catch, both in his first varsity game.

“Getting two big plays feels good,” Throneberry said.

Moses Lake head coach Brett Jay thought his team moved the ball well early in the game, which was his first game at the helm on Saturday, but just didn’t respond well to a few early turnovers.

“You could feel us lose a little belief, and that can never happen. We always talk about setback, comeback,” Jay said.

Despite the scoring margin, Jay said there’s no one he’d have rather faced to open the season.

“It gives us a true evaluation; it’s kind of like there’s no more hiding,” Jay said. “We got a true evaluation of who wants to play at a high level and who’s maybe not ready. I love our guys, love our staff. Now it’s time to see who wants to make the improvements and come back better next game.”

Kyson Thomas, another sophomore, is a player Jay said “didn’t blink” in his first varsity appearance and might not have come off the field between special teams, offense and defense changes.

At times, Jay said, the offensive line looked good, but had a couple of breakdowns.

Both Clark and Joel Middleton saw time at quarterback. Jay said he’ll continue to evaluate both players based on film and what coaches see in practice and just keep letting them compete and have fun.

“They’re both great kids,” Jay said.

Casey McCarthy can be reached via email at cmccarthy@columbiabasinherald.com.

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Casey McCarthy/Columbia Basin Herald

Moses Lake’s Hayden Throneberry intercepts a pass from the Bothell quarterback on 4th and goal in the first half on Saturday in Moses Lake

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Casey McCarthy/Columbia Basin Herald

Moses Lake’s Kyson Thomas pulls away from a Bothell defender after making a catch in the first half Saturday afternoon at Lions Field.