BELLINGHAM — A season-ending loss is never easy, but for the Ridgefield Spudders it marks the start of looking ahead.
After a 63-38 loss to Squalicum on Saturday in the Class 2A football quarterfinals that ended a historic season at 11-1 overall, what many took away most from a season-ending defeat is a season that set the expectation and foundation that Ridgefield football is here to stay.
“It’s what I thought of after this game,” said Ryan Jenkins. “We set the tempo and what we want the next years to be like — and better than what we did this year.”
Jenkins was one of three Ridgefield receivers with at least seven catches in a pass-heavy Spudders attack at Civic Stadium, and finished with 115 yards on nine catches and a touchdown.
Quarterback Logan DeBeaumont completed 29 of 54 passes for 407 yards and five touchdowns. He also had three interceptions.
For a team that entered Saturday undefeated and never trailed in a game prior to last week’s win over Orting, Ridgefield played catchup all game.
However, momentum was on the Spudders’ side going into the lockerroom trailing 28-17 after a quick-strike 80-yard scoring drive that took just 1:02 off the clock.
On that drive, DeBeaumont found Landon Kelsey for his second of three touchdowns in the closing seconds before halftime. A big fourth-down conversion in the red zone by Jenkins helped set up Kelsey’s score two plays later.
That momentum fizzled fast, though.
Squalicum scored five times in the third quarter, including two off turnovers, and twice in the first 1:13 of the quarter to see its lead bloom to 39 points.
WSU commit Djouvensky Schlenbecker finished with 151 yards on 16 carries and four touchdowns — two rushing and one each off an interception and fumble return. Quarterback Leyton Smithson had 181 yards rushing and accounted for five of Squalicum’s scores.
Ridgefield hadn’t allowed more than 14 points in a single game prior to Saturday.
Squalicum advances to the state semifinals to face top-seed Tumwater next weekend.
Ridgefield, in just three seasons, has transformed into a league champion and a state playoff winner under head coach Scott Rice. After the game, the coach commended a senior class at the time who as underclassmen were 18 players strong and helped set the blueprint on what program success looks like.
“It’s going to pay huge dividends to our future,” Rice said.
The Spudders also saw their future Saturday, particularly behind the play of Kelsey, who had a career night with touchdown receptions of 4, 26 and 27 yards as part of an eight-reception game. He was one of seven receivers with at least one reception.
What the Spudders accomplished this season hasn’t been matched since the program captured the Class A state title in 1995. Included in that is an undefeated regular season, a 2A Greater St. Helens League title and a home state playoff win.
Now, the stage is set for future years.
“I’m super proud of what we accomplished; this is a huge step for Ridgefield football,” said senior Ty Snider, who had seven catches for 134 yards and a 43-yard touchdown on Ridgefield’s final offensive possession. “It felt great to be a part of it. It’s not the end goal we wanted, but everything happens for a reason. And I think Ridgefield football is here to stay.”
SQUALICUM 63, RIDGEFIELD 38
Squalicum 14 14 35 0—63
Ridgefield 3 14 7 14—38
S — Kaleb Hawkinson 32 pass from Leyton Smithson (kick good)
R — Giuseppe Gagliardi 20 FG
S — Djouvensky Schlenbaker 1 run (kick good)
S — Smithson 1 run (kick good)
R — Landon Kelsey 4 pass from Logan DeBeaumont (kick failed)
S — Kai Posey 41 pass from Smithson (kick good)
R — Kelsey 26 pass from DeBeaumont (Ty Snider run)
S — Smithson 58 run (kick good)
S — Schlenbaker 35 interception return (kick good)
R — Ryan Jenkins 17 pass from DeBeaumont (Gagliardi kick)
S — Schlenbaker 2 run (kick good)
S — Smithson 33 run (kick good)
S — Schlenbaker 48 fumble recovery (kick good)
R — Kelsey 27 pass from DeBeaumont (Gagliardi kick)
R — Snider 43 pass from DeBeaumont (Gagliardi kick)
RUSHING — Ridgefield: Davis Pankow 5-24, Isaiah Cowley 9-19, Logan DeBeaumont 2-(minus-6), Team 1-(minus-8); Squalicum: Djouvensky Schlenbaker 16-151, Leyton Smithson 13-181, Deandre Dunmore 9-33.
PASSING — Ridgefield: Logan DeBeaumont 29-54-3-407; Squalicum: Leyton Smithson 11-14-0-186.
RECEIVING — Ridgefield: Ty Snider 7-134, Landon Kelsey 8-81, Ryan Jenkins 9-115, Jakob Braunstein 3-48, Matt Lewis 1-3, Davis Pankow 1-20, Isaiah Cowley 1-6.