(BRANDON HANSEN/Chewelah Independent)
MAKING HISTORY: Selkirk wins first league title, picks up first victory over Cusick since switching to 8-man football…
Last Friday was a historic night for the Selkirk Rangers. Their 62-20 win over Cusick was the eight-man program’s first win over the Panthers, and it just so happened to clinch its first ever NE 1B North title.
At 7-0 in league and 7-1 overall, Selkirk has one more game against winless Curlew and will then be at the mercy of the WIAA seeding committee as to whether they host or travel for a 1B playoff game.
“It’s an awesome feeling winning a league title after what we have been doing as a team through the years,” Selkirk Coach Jeremy Link said. “I am super proud of the kids they worked really hard to get to this point.”
Seven seniors began their football career as freshman, being pushed into action in the rough and tumble 1B ranks.
Against the Panthers on Friday, the Rangers jumped out to a 24-0 lead in the first quarter.
“I think teams are suprised by the offense, the speed they play at and the arm of [quarterback] Jay [Link],” Link said.
Link threw a five-yard pass to Ty Talyor for a touchdown, Aiden Penney rushed for 55 yards and then Zech Curran caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Link in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Link scored on a 31-yard touchdown run, but then Cusick showed why they’re a good team. Selkirk experienced some turnovers and the Panthers turned it around to make the score 30-14 in just a few series.
“It was some adversity, we haven’t turned the ball over in a few games, and we hadn’t had a turnover on downs in a few games. It was good for the kids to experience that and go through that,” Link said.
In the third quarter, Cusick scored again to pull within 30-20 but the Rangers answered back as Taylor scored on a one-yard run. Selkirk then forced a safety.
In the fourth quarter, Taylor scored on a 12-yard run, Link ran the ball in from seven yards out and then the senior quarterback threw a 16-yard pass for Steven Davis.
Link finished with 209 yards passing and three touchdowns, while Aiden Penny finished with 73 yards rushing and 78 yards receiving and is an inspiration to ginger runningbacks everywhere.
Luke Couch had a ridiculous game on defense, notching 13 solo tackles and five sacks. His season total for sacks is now 20.
“This rivalry between Cusick and Selkirk is the real deal. Last year they beat us by six and we were on the goal line with seconds to go,” Link said. “It’s tough to go down there and win and those Cusick players were playing harder against us than other teams we saw on film.”
Selkirk will play winless Curlew, which should allow them to rest up some key players, and then they’ll have to face an east side 1B team, depending on how they get seeded. Then the seeding committee will reseed again for the whole state.
Regardless of how that goes, the Rangers can be happy in the fact that they have made history in 2019 and hopefully the WIAA seeding committee notices it.