Selkirk football tops Cusick 54-44 in Pend Oreille County shootout

Taylor Newquist
Sports Editor

Selkirk football defeated its southern Pend Oreille County rival Cusick by a score of 54-44 Thursday night, claiming a sweet win full of adversity.

The Rangers (2-0) led most of the game against the Panthers (1-1), gashing their opponents on the ground in a sunny first half, and through a hail-filled second half. Selkirk senior quarterback Luke Couch set the tone with a 60-yard run on fourth down during the team's opening drive that set up sophomore running back Logan Link with a 10-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter. Couch and Link would not be stopped on the ground all game. Link ran for 160 yards with four touchdowns, while Couch added 128 with three touchdowns—he also threw for one more with a 26-yard pass to senior receiver Conner Bailey.

"It's amazing man, beating Cusick our senior year," Couch said. "The team came together, came out strong and we put it to 'em.

"It was awesome," Link added. "I've never had a team put that much effort out there together, it was great. We couldn't have done it without the line blocking the way they did, they did outstanding."

Cusick was far from done after Selkirk's first touchdown. Panther senior quarterback Dylan Reijonen answered back with a 55-yard touchdown pass to junior receiver River Edmiston less than two minutes later. Reijonen would only complete four touchdowns in the game, but all would go for touchdowns, gaining 166 yards.

Couch went on to score a 17-yard touchdown run with 3:23 remaining in the first quarter, but Cusick took a 13-12 lead 20 seconds later with a 45-yard touchdown pass from Reijonen to junior swiss army knife Colton Seymour. C.Seymour tallied 172 yards with four touchdowns combined receiving and rushing, also adding two completions at quarterback.

Selkirk regained the lead, one they would not lose again, with a 40-yard rushing touchdown by Link with 11:03 minutes remaining in the second quarter. Both defenses then made stops, including a goal line stand by Cusick. The next play, Selkirk recovered a pivotal fumble on the Panther's five yard line, which turned into a 1-yard touchdown by Link.

The next possession, Couch suffered a scary-looking injury following a Cusick runner out of bounds into a snow bank. He remained down for several minutes and the ambulance came over, but he was able to walk off on his own power and returned to the game in the third quarter. Meanwhile, Cusick drove down the field and scored a 26-yard touchdown pass from Reijonen to freshman receiver Bode Seymour. The 26-22 lead for Selkirk held into halftime.

Couch was clearly in pain in the second half, but was adamite to stay in the game. He completed a 26-yard strike to Bailey for a touchdown to bring the lead to 34-22 with 8:02 remaining in the third quarter. Cusick then turned the ball over on downs, and in a turn of good fortune for the Rangers, senior running back Bert Burnett recovered a fumble in the backfield and carried it forward 35 yards on third down and long. Link then rushed for a 15-yard touchdown with 4:29 remaining in the third, bringing the score to 42-22.

"It was just the feeling of beating Cusick again," Couch said of the motivation to play through his injury. "I knew I had to play."

Head coach Jeremy Link was proud of the way his team battled against Cusick and overcame adversity.

"It was a grinder," Link said. "They gave it all and left it all out there on the field, that's for sure. Cusick is a tough team, they always are and Sonny Finley is a great coach.

"It was awesome [Couch] was able to tough it out and have the fortitude to come back from that. He twisted his knee up pretty good, hopefully he can recover for Wednesday, playing with these short weeks."

Cusick would not quit. Reijonen hit C.Seymour for a 40-yard touchdown to bring the game to 42-28. The teams then traded scores for the entire fourth quarter.

Couch scored a 4-yard rushing touchdown with 9:15 minutes remaining, followed by C.Seymour speeding down the sideline on a 30-yard run with 7:39 left. Couch again scored from four yards out, showing his will to beat his rivals in his senior season, despite having an injury. C.Seymour scored his fourth touchdown from 35-yards out with 1:41 left in the game, which would be the final score, giving Selkirk the 54-44 win.

The Rangers will host Republic next Wednesday in Cusick due to field restrictions, game time is still to be determined. Meanwhile, Cusick will play at Curlew on Wednesday at 1 p.m.