Warriors make statement with gritty 35-28 win over Jackson
Mac McLachlan scored from five yards out with 32 seconds left, giving the Edmonds-Woodway Warriors the lead and an eventual 35-28 victory over the Jackson Timberwolves in a see-saw game at Edmonds District Stadium Friday night. McLachlan finished with 177 yards rushing and together with Junior Opoku-Mensah’s 209, the Warrior backfield duo combined for 386 yards on the ground. The win keeps E-W undefeated at 4-0 and also puts the Warriors in a tie for first place with Cascade.
With just over five minutes left in the game, the Timberwolves took E-W’s kickoff back to their own 42. The Warrior defense stiffened, forcing a 3 and out for the T-Wolves. Spotting a tendency for the Jackson kicker to roll to his right prior to punting, Anthony Sherrill broke through and blocked the punt, giving the Warriors the ball with just over two minutes remaining. “The punt before I almost got it; this time I did,” said Sherrill, adding “when the ball was rolling around I was trying to spot it and run it in. Fortunately, my teammates got on it.” The Warriors recovered at the Jackson 41.
The punt recovery led to the eventual winning drive, which started with a 17-yard run by Opoku-Mensah down to the Jackson 24. After losing a yard on the ensuing first-down play, McLachlan took a direct snap four yards to the 22. Following a four-yard run by Opoku-Mensah, the Warriors faced decision time with 4th and 3 at the Jackson 17. E-W coach John Gradwohl decided against the field goal and tried for the first down. “I know my kicker can make that,” said Gradwohl, “but the way we were running the ball, field goal versus two yards, I put my money on the runner.” On the deciding play, E-W again direct snapped to McLachlan and the decision paid off as he broke free for 10 yards and a first down on the Jackson 7. On the next play, another snap went to McLachlan and he ran in for the touchdown. “The line did a great job all night. I really got into the flow of it,” McLachlan said.
Jackson started the game kicking off out of the end zone, giving the Warriors the opening possession on the 20. The Warriors moved quickly, getting out to the Jackson 37. Opoku-Mensah ran for 25 yards, and McLachlan took a screen pass for 11 yards. Following a false start by E-W, the drive ended on the next play as Davis Giles pass to Theo Lebesis was tipped and intercepted by Jackson’s John Robert-Wooley on the 22.
The Warriors defense then did its job, limiting the Timberwolves to just a first down. Following a long incomplete pass, the Knights’ punter came in and kicked a 48-yard punt into the end zone, giving the Warriors their second possession, again from their own 20.
The next drive was almost all Opoku-Mensah, starting with consecutive runs of 11 and 12 yards. Giles then hit Scotty Myricks for seven yards. Four more Opoku-Mensah runs ended the quarter with the Warriors down to the Jackson 22-yard line. The Warrior tailback finished the quarter with 90 yards on 11 carries.
The second quarter began with more Opoku-Mensah. His fourth carry of the quarter resulted in a touchdown that was nullified by a holding penalty. The Warriors responded with a touchdown on the next play, this one counting, with Giles hitting Opoku-Mensah on a “wheel” route down the sideline for a 14-yard TD. Ebrima Fatty’s extra point made it 7-0 E-W.
Jackson quickly evened the score as Nick White took a pitch-back on the ensuing kickoff and returned it 76 yards untouched for the equalizing TD. Michael Zeng added the extra point for the T-Wolves.
Morales returned kick to the 22. The Warriors’ shortest drive of the night ended when Giles was intercepted at the 32 by Jackson’s Isaiah Patrick. With a short field to work with, Jackson quickly found the end zone and took the lead on a one yard run by Nick White.
The Jackson kickoff again went out of the endzone. Starting on their own 20, Opoku-Mensah took a pass from Giles and ran 58 yards down to the T-Wolve 22 yard line. Two plays later, McLachlan took a direct snap 7 yards in for the score. The drive took only 2 minutes as the Warriors gained 80 yards on 6 plays.
The Timberwolves had two more chances to score and take the lead before half-time, but their best chance ended on a Connor McCole interception in the Warrior end zone just before time ran out. The teams were deadlocked at 14 at the half, with McLachlan and Opoku-Mensah accounting for almost all of the teams 276 yards of offense. Opoku-Mensah himself had 140 yards rushing and 74 yards receiving at the intermission. “Our line is awesome and we have playmakers all over the field,” Opoku-Mensah said.
Following the kickoff, Jackson started the second half from its 34 with Wesley Love in at QB . The Wolves moved diligently down the field, aided by both a face mask and a horsecollar penalty on the Warriors. Love found Travante Robinson on a 24-yard crossing pattern for a touchdown. The extra point, however, was missed, keeping the lead at six.
Starting from their own 20, the Warriors’ drive started ominously with Giles sacked by White for a loss of eight. A screen to McLachlan and a run by Opoku-Mensah got the Warriors back on track as they got a first down. Two plays later, Mclachlan took the snap and ran 38 yards down to the Jackson 27. On a fourth-down play, a scrambling Giles found Myricks on the 2-yard line, and Myricks was able to reach across the goal line for a touchdown. “I was running a fade stop, saw Davis was in trouble so I came back for it. Fortunately I was able to spot the pylon and get the score,” Myricks said. “We just played our hearts out tonight.” Fatty was able to tack on the extra point, giving the Warriors a one-point lead
The third quarter wound down with the teams exchanging punts and ended with the Warriors clinging to a 21-20 lead. The lead would soon disappear as Jackson, starting from E-W’s 48, immediately went to work, first on a QB draw by Love for 12 yards. After an incomplete pass, Love ran for 10 and then Robinson for 8 on an end around. Now on the E-W 20, Jackson was able to complete a pass to the 6, and two plays later, Robinson ran it in for a 4 yard TD. The Wolves were successful on the two point conversion, with Robinson running it in, giving Jackson a 28-21 lead.
The Warriors roared right back, starting with the ball on their own 24 yard line. 8 plays and just under 3 minutes later, the boys from E-W had marched 76 plays and following the extra point had tied the game back up. The drive featured runs of 10 and 14 yards from Opoku-Mensah, a 6-yard run from Giles and runs of 33, 14, and a touchdown of 5 yards from McLachlan.
Jackson was able to return the kickoff to their own 42. White ran for 7 yards and 3 yards and passed for an eleven yard gain all the way down to the Warrior 35. The Timberwolves then stumbled, with a false start, a near interception and then a sack on 3rd down. With no choice but to punt, Jackson let Sherrill mistakenly slip through for the punt block and the Warrior recovery. That led to the game winner by McLachlan, who was named the Jersey Mike’s of Lynnwood Player of the Game, presented by the Sound Live Sports Network.
Jackson tried multiple laterals on the kickoff, but ended up tackled by a host of Warriors on their own 35. With six seconds left, Jackson’s final play was a hook and ladder, which was denied by E-W. The Warriors were able to amass 509 yards of total offense while holding Jackson to 231.
For his efforts, McLachlan was named the Jersey Mike’s of Lynnwood Player of the Game, presented by the Sound Live Sports Network.
The Warriors next host Cascade on Friday, Oct. 4 at 5 p.m. That game can be heard and watched on the Sound Live Sports Network.
EW- 10:42 Opoku-Mensah 14 yard pass from Giles, Fatty kick.
J-10:28 White 76 yard kickoff return, Zeng kick
J-7:44 White 1 yard run, Zeng kick
9:01 J-Robinson 24yard pass from Love, kicked missed.
2:39 E-WMyricks 13 yard pass from Giles, Fatty kick.
7:57J-Robinson 4 yard run, Robinson run
5:01 EW-McLachlan 5 yard run, Fatty kick
0:28 E-W McLachlan 5 yard run, Fatty kick
– By Jeff Smarr