The Grays Harbor Bearcats’ injury-riddled defensive secondary was no match for former Washington State University quarterback Marshall Lobbestael and the Yakima Mavericks on Saturday night.
Lobbestael’s 399 passing yards and four touchdowns helped the visiting Mavericks defeat the Bearcats, 37-20, in a Pacific Football League game at Stewart Field.
Grays Harbor kept it close for a while, but a 20-0 scoring run that covered much of the third and fourth quarters closed the door on any hopes of a Bearcat comeback.
After going into halftime trailing 17-7 and struggling to find an offensive rhythm, Grays Harbor (5-4, 6-4) marched down the field and scored on its first possession of the second half.
A quick pass from David Evans to Chris Jackson turned into a dazzling 51-yard play that got the Bearcats into Maverick territory. After a couple of rushes by Cameron Smith and another reception by Jackson, Evans completed a pass to Jeremy
Walker in the middle of the field around the 5-yard line. Walker made a nifty move and charged to the right pylon for the
score. The extra point by Kyle Saloma cut Yakima’s lead to 17-14 with 12:02 left in the third quarter.
Jackson led the Bearcats with seven receptions for 182 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Walker
finished the game with five receptions for 94 yards and added a 39-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter.
Yakima (7-1 in league) took advantage of a Grays Harbor miscue to squash the Bearcats’ momentum.
A bad snap forced Grays Harbor’s punter, Dan Brown, to run with the ball on fourth down. Brown lowered his head and
punished some would-be tacklers, but was eventually hauled down just before the original line of scrimmage. The play resulted in a turnover on downs on Grays Harbor’s 23-yard line.
Yakima took just one play to score after the turnover. Lobbestael completed a 23-yards touchdown pass on a fade route to
Jordan Gaut. Alex Mahre converted the extra point, putting the Mavericks up 24-14.
Gaut was Lobbestael’s favorite target. The rookie wide-out hauled in 13 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns.
After the Bearcats went three-and-out on their next possession, Lobbestael connected with Ryan Wright for a 43-yard score. Wright was second on the team with six catches for 86 yards and two TDs.
Mahre’s performance in the game was also notable. The kicker converted all four of his extra point attempts and three of his four field goal attempts (23, 23 and 45 yards). The only kick he missed was a 58-yard attempt late in the fourth quarter.
“(Stopping Lobbestael) was the game plan, and honestly, I thought we did a pretty good job except for about four plays,”
Bearcats head coach Todd Hoiness said. “They were throwing the ball up and coming down with it. We had pressure on him all night. He’s throwing under pressure, and finishing the play on his back, but it’s still a touchdown. He’s a good player. We didn’t have our two starting corners, and that didn’t help. We had safeties playing corner, and it was tough.”
Grays Harbor was in Lobbestael’s face all night. The Bearcats sacked the star quarterback five times, forced a fumble, batted or tipped balls at the line of scrimmage and affected many other throws with their pressure. Christopher Cook sacked Lobbestael twice and forced a fumble. Joel Brown, Kory McElravy and Chris Raffelson also each recorded a sack.
Despite the pressure from Grays Harbor’s front seven, Lobbestael completed 30 of his 48 pass attempts to seven different
“They’re tied for first place because they’re a good team, and they’re coached well,” Hoiness said. “We have a good rivalry with them.”
Grays Harbor draws the league bye next week and will close out its regular season by hosting the Seattle Stallions on June 29.