The Grays Harbor Bearcats’ difficult season continued on Saturday night at Stewart Field in Aberdeen.
The inexperienced, short-handed Bearcats played fairly well defensively, despite missing two of their best players. They also could not overcome their six turnovers given away to the Bellingham Bulldogs, who won this Pacific Football League game easily, 33-6.
Early in the second quarter, Douglas Miller caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Cody Oakes in the back of the end zone for the game’s first touchdown. A few plays earlier, Miller caught a 41-yard pass to help set up the score. The ensuing extra point by Kevin Bell put the Bulldogs up 10-0.
Bellingham recovered a Vincent McCrory fumble on the Bearcats’ next drive to set up a short field at the Grays Harbor 38-yard-line.
Oakes completed a 21-yard pass to Jacob Bartell to the 2-yard-line. Two plays later, Donovan Dunmore scored from 1-yard out to widen Bellingham’s lead. Another extra point by Bell punctuated what would be a 17-0 halftime lead.
After gaining just 52 yards and turning the ball over three times in the first half, the Bearcats offense took a step backward in the second half. Grays Harbor turned it over three more times and managed just 18 yards of offense after the break.
“If we were a centipede, we still wouldn’t be able to walk because we’ve shot off so many toes,” Grays Harbor head coach Todd Hoiness said. “We shoot ourselves in the foot so many times. As we keep getting reps, we’ll keep getting better. This is a great group of guys, and they keep their head up really well for a team that’s going through growing pains. It’s a tough league to be young and hurting.”
Hoiness added that despite the fact that two of the team’s best defensive players, linebackers Dan Brown and Joel Brown, missed the game due to injury, he was still pleased with some things he saw on that side of the ball.
“We know we’re going to take our lumps,” Hoiness said. “We did some good things on defense. There’s improvement all across the board in certain areas, if people know where we’re coming from. We’ve come a long way. They’re a good team. That’s why they’re in first place.”
The Bearcats’ lone touchdown came in the third quarter on a 74-yard kickoff return by Derek Archer. The return was set up in part by a punishing block by Jerry Mancuso that helped clear a path to the right sideline.
The ensuing extra-point attempt was blocked and returned all the way by Bellingham’s Joshua Heard. This gave the Bulldogs a safety and a 33-6 lead.
Both of Bellingham’s second half touchdowns came after Grays Harbor turnovers.
Early in the third quarter, Loyal Linton fumbled while being sacked by Tony Heard. Joshua Heard recovered the fumble for the Bulldogs. Three plays later, Oakes scrambled for a 39-yard touchdown. Later in the third quarter, Linton was intercepted by Jason Walters. Four plays later, Dunmore rushed for a 33-yard score.
Dunmore finished with 110 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
McCrory led Grays Harbor with 55 rushing yards on 10 carries, including a 27-yard scamper in the first quarter — the Bearcats’ longest play from scrimmage in the game.
Grays Harbor will be back in action on Saturday when it travels to Yakima to face the Mavericks.
Bellingham 3 14 16 0 — 33
Grays Harbor 0 0 6 0 — 6
First Downs: Bellingham 12, Grays Harbor 6
Net Rushing: Bellingham 197, Grays Harbor 51
Net Passing: Bellingham 129, Grays Harbor 19
Total Yards: Bellingham 326, Grays Harbor 70
Passing: Bellingham 7-19, Grays Harbor 4-15
Interceptions: Bellingham 1, Grays Harbor 3
Fumbles Lost: Bellingham 1, Grays Harbor 3
Penalty Yards: Bellingham 95, Grays Harbor 101