PHOTO: Selkirk’s Luke Couch avoids tacklers during his team’s NE 1B football matchup against Hunters/Inchelium. (Brandon Hansen photo)
(BRANDON HANSEN/Chewelah Independent)
It’s Luke Couch’s world and we’re just living in it.
A big question for Selkirk, the No. 9 ranked team in the state for 1B football, was how it was going to deal with the graduation of its record setting quarterback Jay Link.
The first drive around the block for the Rangers has some promising results as senior Luke Couch stepped under center and finished Friday’s NE 1B matchup against Hunters/Inchelium with four touchdown passes and another score on the ground in a 46-0 victory. Perhaps most impressive was that every pass Couch completed, the receiver found themselves in the endzone.
“The whole team has gotten into the the flow of things and have gotten use to my to my passes,” Couch said after the game. “It’s a lot different from Jay, he’s a good quarterback. We’re just going to try our best and keep moving.”
Moving is an understatement for Selkirk, who traveled from Ione to Hunters for the matchup, which was played in an inch or two of snow still on the field. The Hunters school staff did a good job preparing field lines and having the game despite COVID-19 restrictions as it was the first sports action some people have seen in over a year.
After stopping Hunters/Inchelium on their first drive, Selkirk marched down the field in eight plays, capped off with a one-yard touchdown run by Couch with 7:01 left in the first quarter. Logan Link converted the two-point conversion for the 8-0 lead.
Couch then recovered a fumble while playing defense on the next Hunters/Inchelium drive. Five plays later, Couch found Conner Bailey open for a 35-yard touchdown pass and the 14-0 lead with 2:20 remaining in the first quarter.
Selkirk recovered the onside kick and after nice running by Link and Couch, Couch found Silas Petrich in the endzone for a twenty-yard touchdown and the 20-0 lead to wrap up the first quarter of play.
The Rangers recovered a fumble on a shortened field and Link found the endzone on a one yard run to put Selkirk up 20-0 with 10:01 left in the half.
Hunters/Inchelium delivered a good number of hits and defensive stops, showing while the western Stevens County 1B team is always a tough squad to face. Hard running by Colton Hughes – who apparently can play offensive line, defensive line and running back – required a good pile of Selkirk tacklers to bring down. Solomon Christen was able to get several big plays at quarterback for the Hornets but was injured in the game and replaced by Trey Young who also suffered an injury as well. Turnovers too, didn’t help the Hornets as the snow made gripping the ball tough for both teams.
Despite the snow, the level of play was entertaining for the limited number of family members who were allowed to watch. While 1B football may be the smallest classification in the state of Washington, both Hunters/Inchelium and Selkirk showed how fun eight-man football can be.
“We’re a bunch of good athletes and we make good plays,” Couch said, commenting on playing through the conditions on the field “It’s slippery, it’s cold and wet but it’s not bad. It’s fun but you can get a face full of snow.”
After halftime, the Rangers began the half with a 1980s New York Giants style drive that went 11 plays and ended with a Porter Carman touchdown run to make it 32-0.
After Hunters/Inchelium turned the ball over on downs, Selkirk pulled off a quick drive that ended with Sebastian Avery hauling in a 16-yard touchdown pass from Couch.
Before the play, Avey was frantically looking on the sideline for his mouthpiece. His white mouthpiece was nowhere to be found – because well all of the ground was white – so after a resourceful parent found another mouthpiece. Seconds later, Avey scrambled into the game to catch a pass in the endzone.
The final score would happen in the fourth quarter, with Couch again finding an open man – this time junior T.J. Taylor – for a ten-yard scoring strike.
Couch finished the game with 88 yards passing, going 4-of-6 with four touchdowns for a QB passer rating of 139.6 which means “Let Couch Cook” will become a rally cry in Ione.
On the ground, Logan Link, the shifty, speedy Warrick-Dunn style back for the Rangers picked up 108 yards on 13 carries. Couch picked up 81 yards on ten carries and Porter Carman notched 62 yards on eight carries.
The offense was also anchored by great line play throughout the game thanks to work by Bert Bernett, Cody Stafford, Kory Enyeart, Gavin Green and Zander VanArsdale.
Both Couch and Bert Burnett recovered fumbles, while Couch also led the team in tackles on defense with 11. Both Conner Bailey and Logan Link each had nine tackles while Cody Stafford also added nine tackles.
Stafford also finished the game with two sacks. College lineman look-alike Kory Enyart also had two tackles and a sack in the matchup. Silas Petrich and Porter Carman each had interceptions.
Selkirk has an away game against Cusick next Thursday at 5 p.m. while Hunters/Inchelium will play at Republic on the same day at the same time.
“It’s so good to be back, we haven’t played football since October,” Couch said. “Its so good to be back, I love this game, I love this sport and I love my family over there.”
SELKIRK 46, HUNTERS/INCHELIUM 0
Selkirk 20 6 12 8 = 46
Hu/Inch 0 0 0 0 = 0
SEL – Luke Couch 1-yard run, 7:01, Logan Link run, 8-0
SEL – Couch to Conner Bailey 35-yard pass, 2:20, pass failed, 14-0
SEL – Couch to Silas Petrich, 20-yard pass, :54 run failed 20-0
SEL – Logan Link 1-yard run, 10:01, run failed 26-0
SEL – Porter Carman 2-yard run, 5:08, run fail 32-0
SEL – Couch to Sebastian Avey 3-yard pass, 1:12, run failed, 38-0
SEL – Couch to TJ Taylor 13 yards, 3:05, couch run
Rushing – Logan Link 13-108, Luke Couch 10-81, Porter Carman 8-62, Conner Bailey 3-30, Bert Burnett 3-3
Receiving – Silas Petrich 1-26, Sebastian Avey 1-16, Conner Bailey 1-37, T.J. Taylor 1-10
Passing – Luke Couch 4-6=88