Friday night was the most suspenseful moment of Gulls football so far this season: up 18-14 at the halftime buzzer, Seaside had one phenomenal play after another under its belt from three of the team's best players. They also had one of those players, linebacker Dom Walker, writhing in pain on the field after re-aggravating the shoulder injury that kept him sidelined all of last week.
In the end, Walker couldn't return, and without him the Huskies found a way to shut down the offensive game of Ed Kauffunger, Jeremy Carow, and Zeke Smith to take the game away from the Gulls 41-38.
Sweet Home's Amos Parmenter led a long, ugly drive to the goal line time and again in the second half that had been controlled in the first half by Walker's significant defensive presence.
It was a far cry from the effective completions from Kauffunger to Carow and Smith that made for the best football Seaside fans have seen yet this season.
An 18-yard pass from Kauffunger to Smith brought the ball within 12 yards of Seaside's goal line midway through the first quarter. A fake to the left from Kauffunger, and then a pass to Carow pulled Seaside out to a 6-0 lead.
Two early second quarter goals bought the Huskies the lead 14-6. But with 7:22 left in the quarter, Kauffunger's phenomenal 70-yard pass to Carow ended in the two doing some celebrating at the goal line.
Walker stole a pass on the next possession from the Huskies, and the Gulls were lifted past Sweet Home with another 30-yard touchdown pass from Kauffunger to Carow that upped the score to 18-14.
Walker finished the half strong with another fumble recovery that put Seaside close to their goal line.
But then he went down, and the whole game changed.
Parmenter carried in a touchdown in the third quarter and three in the fourth off a series of slow drives that wore down Seaside's broken defensive line.
Walker did return in the fourth quarter, but was unable to defend as aggressively as usual.
The loss may have been the hardest yet for the 0-5 Gulls, but fans were nevertheless heartened by ruthless play by its leaders Kauffunger, Walker, Carow, and Smith, and emerging playmakers Dylan Peters and Agustin Tinoco.
This Friday the Gulls will face Astoria on Seaside home turf. The showdown between the nationally recruited Kauffunger and the tough Fishermen quarterback, Jordan Poyer, will be one to watch.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m.