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Originally published September 11, 2010 at 12:11 AM | Page modified September 11, 2010 at 11:35 AM

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Nathan Hale smothers West Seattle, 56-26

Only 15 players were available for West Seattle, and the Raiders took advantage, rolling to a convincing Metro League victory.

Special to The Seattle Times

Hoover Hopkins has seen a lot in his 27 seasons of coaching high school football. But the things he witnessed Friday night may have topped them all.

Hopkins' Nathan Hale Raiders improved to 2-0 by defeating West Seattle 56-26 at Raider Field.

But even Hopkins, though happy with his team's progress, was surprised by the game's sloppiness, which produced 22 penalties and six turnovers.

"It was a very strange game," he said.

In the end, Nathan Hale's arsenal of big plays left an injury-riddled, short-handed West Seattle team unable to recover.

The Wildcats were without their starting quarterback, star linebacker and several other players. Four players suffered concussions against Eisenhower last week and couldn't play. All-league linebacker Nikko Emm sat out with a leg injury.

West Seattle coach Davis Lura said only 15 Wildcats played Friday night, with each playing on both sides of the ball.

"We played ironman football," Lura said.

West Seattle was down 14-0 before it even ran an offensive play. Nathan Hale took the opening kickoff and drove 71 yards on nine plays with Taylor Cassell scoring from 2 yards. Nick Castoriano's catch and run for 38 yards set up the touchdown.

"West Seattle has been our rivals for a while," said Cassell, a senior captain who rushed for 138 yards and scored three touchdowns. "Our game plan was to contain the outside and come out in the first drive and punch them right in the mouth, and that's what we did."

The Raiders' Kebrom Woldegabriel recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and on the next play, Jacob Radolla found Yoshio Hasegawa for a 47-yard touchdown.

The rout was on.

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West Seattle quarterback Isaac Johnson injured his shoulder while tackling linebacker Mack Dirks to save a touchdown on an interception return as time ran out in the first half.

In the third quarter, Johnson, also the punter, was involved in a bizarre play when a punt attempt landed behind the line of scrimmage. Johnson went over to touch the ball and down it, but decided to pick it up and ran 57 yards to the end zone with no one in pursuit.

Because the ball never crossed the line of scrimmage, it was considered a live ball, and officials ruled it a touchdown.

"In all my years, I've never seen that," Hopkins said.

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