After not making the post-season for the first time in five years, Cascade (5-1, 2-1 Wesco South) has already matched last year’s win total.
With 13 starters and several other key returnees who saw quality time late last year, the Bruins are two wins away from clinching a playoff berth. Their quest begins on Homecoming night Friday against Shorewood (0-6, 0-4) and continues next week at Edmonds-Woodway (2-4, 1-2).
The Bruins, whose lone loss was by a field goal at Kamiak in Week 2, allow just 11.3 points per game. Besides allowing 28 points to Mountlake Terrace (due primarily to a prevent defense after leading 35-7), Cascade has held the rest of its opponents to 14 points or less.
“We spend a lot of time on defense,” said Jake Huizinga, who’s in his eighth season as head coach but has been on the staff since the 1991 state championship season. “It starts with our D-line being able to play their gap-control scheme.”
The Bruins are allowing just 82 rushing yards and haven’t given up a rushing touchdown of more than 1 yard. They have remarkably forced a turnover inside the red zone in each win.
“Basically our defense is assignment football,” said third-year coordinator Nick Clovsky, who uses a 3-4 defense with a cover-two scheme. “The outside backers have the most complex role and the corners have tremendous run-stopping responsibilities.”
In a league often ridiculed for its porous defenses and pass-happy tendencies, Cascade continues to buck that trend.
“I feel that (defense) seems to be a missing ingredient on a lot of high school teams,” Huizinga said. “They’re more obsessed with scoring than stopping people from scoring.”