Warriors cruise to 56-32 victory over Kamiak
Edmonds-Woodway combined a couple of early Kamiak turnovers with a sparkling debut by receiver Jason Smarr to score early and often en route to a 56-32 victory over the Kamiak Knights on Friday night at Goddard Stadium. The Warriors scored the first 28 points of the game and cruised to an easier than expected victory over the previously division co-leading Knights. “Kamiak’s a great team,” said E-W coach John Gradwohl. “They never gave up.” I was nervous all the way to the end.”
Coming into the game, both the Warriors and Knights had strong ground games. Friday’s game saw both teams continue a strong ground presence, with both the Warriors Junior Opoku-Mensah and Joseph Binda gaining a lot of yards and helping both teams move the ball. What’s been missing for the Warriors, was a run-pass balance which they got tonight,”We’ve run the ball real well this season,” said Gradwohl, “but teams are starting to stack up against the run, and we needed to extend things. Tonight we did.”
The Warriors took the opening kickoff and Scotty Myricks returned it to the 39. On 3rd down, quarterback Davis Giles hit Mac Mclachlan for a 20 yard pass for a first down. On the next play, Smarr got past the Kamiak defender and Giles hit the wide open receiver for a 45-yard touchdown pass. It was Smarr’s first career catch and obviously his first touchdown. “ I got past my man,” said Smarr, “and I was hoping he’d spot me, and when he did, I just caught it and ran for the endzone.”
On the ensuing kickoff, Tyler Rheinford forced a fumble, which E-W recovered. Three plays later, Opoku-Mensah ran it in from 10 yards out giving the Warriors a 14-0 lead.
After both teams failed to advance. the Warriors returned a punt to their own 22. On second down, Giles launched a “fly pattern” pass to Smarr and the receiver was able to outrun the Kamiak defender resulting in a 78-yard TD reception. Following the extra-point, E-W was ahead 21-0. “ The nice thing about Smarr,” said Giles,” is I know if I throw it out there, he’s gonna catch it. Either he gets to it, or nobody does.”
Following a Kamiak 3-and-out, the Warriors almost scored again as they moved the ball down to the Kamiak 27. Opoku-Mensah ran for 35 yards , but the drive stalled following a false start and an incomplete pass .
Kamiak’s next possession looked promising as Binda carried the ball on five of the next six carries, gaining a total of 21 yards and moving the Knights into scoring range. The next play turned the tide back in favor of the Warriors, as Chantz Justice intercepted Kamiak quarterback Tyler Becker’s pass, returning it to the 35 yard line. Opoku-Mensah ran it twice and Mclachlan once before Giles again found Smarr down the sideline for a 44 yard touchdown pass, increasing the lead to a seemingly insurmountable 28-0.
The Warriors kicked off to start the second half, and the defense, a stalwart all season long, forced a fumble, with Nick Venema recovering the fumble in the end zone, giving the Warriors a 35-6 lead.
The Knights continued to battle, scoring on their next two possessions, but with just over six minutes left in the 3rd quarter, E-W mounted a momentum stopping drive of its own as the Warriors returned to their ground game. Giles scrambled once for 16 yards, and called his own number for 10 moving the Warriors into Knight territory. Back-to-back passes to Myricks and Smarr advanced the ball to the 33 and following a personal foul penalty, the Warriors were set to pounce again. Mclachlan gained nine yards before Opoku-Mensah ran it in from eight yards as time was expiring in the 3rd quarter, making it 42-18 Warriors.
The fourth quarter got a bit sloppy, but the Warriors were able to find the end zone two more times, first on a 14 yard pass from Giles to Theo Lebesis and then on a 33-yard run by Justice. “ I’m just really proud of the guys tonight.” said Gradwohl.” The yards after contact and the blocking by Bakken and crew.”
Opoku-Mensah added to his league leading rushing total, gaining 139 yards on 21 carries. McLachlan gained 68 yards combined in rushing and receiving and Nick Venema gained 39 yards on the ground. Giles threw for 268 yards and 4 touchdowns and Smarr caught four passes for 190 yards and 3 TDs.
The Warriors have two more conference games before the playoffs. Next up is a 5 p.m. match-up against Lynnwood at Edmonds stadium. The game will be broadcast live on Sound Live Sports Network.
Edmonds-Woodway 21 7 14 14 56
Kamiak 0 6 6 20 32
– Story by Jeff Smarr