By RayJaun Stelly, The Seattle Medium
Going into their game last week against the Garfield Bulldogs, the Rainier Beach football team was full of confidence. For Josh Conerly, one of the team’s leaders, the confidence among the team was much different than one he had experienced before.
The energy he felt went beyond believing that Rainier Beach was the better team and that they had the talent to win the game. This energy came from deep inside, a feeling that his teammates not only had his back but were going to work together as a team to put together arguably their best performance so far this year.
Although it’s a league game and doesn’t mean much this early in the season, the bragging rights are just as important as being victorious.
Over the course of the season, the team has bonded. Adversity has made them hungry, but has also forced them to strengthen the bond between teammates and come together as a team outside of the normal times that are structured for them to practice.
The Vikings, who were coming off a 20-7 win over Ballard, were looking to earn themselves a monumental win and inner-city bragging rights with a victory over the Bulldogs.
Rainier Beach, led by head coach Corey Sampson, made their dominance known by running the ball known early and hindered any Garfield momentum on defense.
Both teams were unable to put points on the board in their first offensive series, but after Rainier Beach forced a turnover on downs they just outright took over the game.
Rainier Beach running back Scot’Tre Humphrey set the tone, while his teammates controlled the line of scrimmage. With the majority of the carries as the Vikings marched down the field, Humphrey capped off the Rainier Beach drive scoring a 10-yard rushing touchdown and from that moment forward it was all Rainier Beach.
Garfield, who managed to score points at a high and consistent level all season, couldn’t escape the aggressive and tenacious defense from Rainier Beach.
The Vikings forced two interceptions, a sack, punt, and turnover on downs in the first half. While their defense caused havoc the offense continued wearing down Garfield’s defense with their rushing attack.
Rainier Beach’s Chance Guadiz scored on a quarterback sneak and Humphrey followed up by completing a two-point conversion, as the Vikings built a 22-0 halftime lead.
In the second half, the Vikings picked up where they left off. Two minutes into the third quarter, Rainier Beach’s A’Shaki Davis exploded for the team’s fourth rushing touchdown of the evening.
Maintaining a four-touchdown lead, the Vikings’ continued to suffocate the Bulldogs’ offense, forcing two more interceptions and recovering a fumble.
With both their offense and defense clicking on all cylinders Rainier Beach couldn’t be stopped, especially when throwing to Jaelin Green who had catches that kept their drives alive when they looked unsuccessful.
The duo of Guadiz and Humphrey would go on to score the games’ final two touchdowns, combining for 5 of the 6 total rushing touchdowns in the game.
The night before their game against Garfield, Rainier Beach, as a team, voluntarily came together and had an informal film session on their opponent. There were no coaches, no distractions, or expectations except to learn directly from their teammates what they needed to do individually and collectively to shut down their opponents.
The bonding session appeared to work as the Vikings would score 41 points, while not allowing Garfield to score any points, and, according to the players, their preparation outside of coaches played a huge role in winning the game.
“Watching the film as a team made us feel more together while learning more about each other,” said Conerly. “Continuing to build trust which all translated to the field Saturday.”
Rainier Beach earned the victory and bragging rights, winning back-to-back games. They’ll look to extend their streak to three wins in a row, when facing Eastside Catholic next week.
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