Thursday Night Football: Bethel Tops North Thurston



Sure, it was a non-conference game, but Bethel got a much needed 27-7 win over North Thurston at South Sound Stadium in Lacey.

Bethel used three quarterbacks, Tristyn Gese (’18) getting first quarter reps, JK Crespo (’18) got the second quarter, and Nate Hughes (’19) the third and a portion of the fourth, before Gese finished the game.

The Braves got off to a quick start when WR Joehnis Joyce (’17) made a diving catch on the game’s first play for a huge gain. A few plays later, Machiah Lee (’18) would scamper in virtually untouched from 12 yards out. A blocked PAT would give Bethel a very early 6-0 lead.

North Thurston’s first possession didn’t last long as a stout Bethel defense forced a three-and-out.

Gese would then lead a nice drive capped off by an 8-yard TD pass to Trenton Weseman (’18). A missed PAT would up Bethel’s lead to 12-0 with just over three minutes to play in the first quarter.

Bethel’s defense got back to business early in NT’s next possession when Seth Smith (’17) and Lucas Olson (’17) combined for a strip sack of Ram QB Clayton Christian, which was recovered by Joehnis Joyce at the Bethel 46.

Gese finished off a perfect first quarter, 10-of-10 for 167, by tossing a jump ball to Joehnis Joyce, who went up-and-over a defender for the touchdown. A two-point conversion pass to Trenton Weseman would give the Braves a 20-0 lead at the end of one.



Second quarter action was back-and-forth, with a few turnovers for both teams. Bethel CB Adrian Tedtaotao (’18) picked off a pass, and just before halftime North Thurston CB Durae Watson (’17) wrestled the ball away from a Bethel WR, giving the Rams a final possession in the first half, but they were unable to convert and we would go to the break with a 20-0 Bethel lead.

The Rams started the second half just like the first, with a three-and-out, and like the first half, Bethel would capitalize. QB Nate Hughes led the Braves on a nine play drive, including a spectacular play by WR Collin White (’17) in which he tipped the ball over a NT defender to himself for a long gain. The drive was capped off with a 12-yard TD pass from Hughes to TE Jarrell Anderson (’18).

North Thurston got on the board in the fourth quarter with a 7-yard Ross Sherrer (’17) touchdown run. Sherrer finished the night with 104 hard-earned yards on 26 carries.

Twice in the second half the Bethel defense tightened up in the redzone forcing a turnover on downs. The second of which would take place with just over five minutes left in the game, and prove to be the nail in the coffin for North Thurston.


Notes: Gese finished 11-of-11 for 180 yards and 2 TDs, JK Crespo was 7-of-11 for 91 yards, and Nate Hughes went 6-of-8 for 71 yards and a TD. Combined the three would go 24-of-30 with 342 yards and 3 TD’s. It will be interesting to see if the Braves continues to go with a three man approach as they head into league play next week against the Lincoln Abes.

I really liked what I saw from Bethel’s Joehnis Joyce. He has good size, 6-foot-3 190 pounds, and plays with an aggressive mindset. I’d have to see more before making a good assessment, but he has the look of a college football player.

If I was giving out a game ball, it would go to Bethel RB/DB Machiah Lee. He scored the game’s first TD and was one of the better offensive players all night, but his play on defense is what really stood out. He flies to the ball and makes plays all over the field and was a big reason for North Thurston’s lack of offense.

Ross Sherrer would get my game ball on the North Thurston side. The senior RB/DB did a little bit of everything for the Rams tonight. He is a bit undersized at 5-foot-8 and 143 pounds, but uses his speed to create plays on both sides of the ball.

Bethel TE/DE Jarrell Anderson didn’t have big numbers, but was highly productive. Outside of the third quarter TD reception, Anderson was in on a number of big stops defensively and had a few key receptions to help extend drives.

There is a lot to like about Bethel LB Seth Smith. He really sets the tone for the Bethel defense and made things tough on Sherrer and the Rams all night.


Up Next: Bethel Braves (1-1) @ Lincoln Abes (0-1); North Thurston Rams (1-1) @ Central Kitsap Cougars (1-0).


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