Warriors drop Wesco title game Lake Stevens, 53-49; face Federal Way at home Friday
Updated with game details
In a game that featured over 1,100 yards of offense and more than 100 points, the Edmonds-Woodway Warriors came up just short in their bid for the Wesco title, falling 53-49 to the Lake Stevens Vikings. Davis Giles passed for over 300 yards, Jason Smarr had more than 200 yards in receiving and Junior Opoku-Mensah rushed for close to 200, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the record-setting performance of the Vikings QB Jacob Eason, himself throwing for over 500 yards in handing the Warriors their first loss of the season.
E-W had the ball with just over six minutes left in the game, clinging to a three-point lead. The Warriors moved steadily down the field, attempting to run out the clock. With just over 2 minutes left, the Warriors faced a 3rd and 7 from the Lake Stevens 35. Giles’ pass to Theo Lebesis fell incomplete, setting up 4th down. The E-W quarterback’s pass to a closely guarded Smarr was unsuccessful at the goal-line, giving the Vikings the ball back, down by three with 2:03 left in the game.
Eason’s first pass was complete to almost mid-field. His next three completions had the Vikings inside the Warrior 30-yard line. With just over a minute left, the Warrior pass rush forced Eason to throw the ball away, seemingly leading to an intentional grounding call. The officials waved it off, and four plays later, Eason found Tevin Gray in the endzone for what proved to be the winning touchdown. Vikings coach Tom Tri said of the last drive, “ we had just enough time that while we had to hurry, we didn’t have to rush. Jacob did a great job of managing the drive.”
E-W did attempt one last play, a “hook-and-ladder” play with Giles hitting Scott Myricks, who attempted a pitch back to Opoku-Mensah. Unfortunately for the Warriors, the ball went over Opoku-Mensah’s head, giving the Vikings the ball back and ending the Warriors’ hopes.
Things started out promising for the Warriors as they forced the Vikings to punt on their first series. Opoku-Mensah led E-W down the field to the Viking 28 when Giles found Myricks in the endzone, giving the Warriors a 7-0 lead.
Lake Stevens answered back, moving the ball methodically and gaining 75 yards in 14 plays, capped by a 6-yard pass from Eason to Justin Brown, knotting the score at 7-7.
Starting from their own 15, E-W came right back, going 85 yards in just seven plays with Nick Venema running it in from seven yards out for the score. Lake Stevens wasted no time answering as they scored on seven plays of their own, moving the ball 69 yards, mostly on the legs of Wesco leading rusher Austin Otis, who punctuated the drive running it in from 11 yards for the equalizer.
Edmonds-Woodway’s next drive ended quickly, with Lake Stevens intercepting Giles’ pass, giving the Vikings the ball in E-Dub territory. But the Warriors’ defense stiffened including a 3rd-down sack by Theo Lebesis, forcing Lake Stevens to try a field goal, which Ignacio Ponce converted from 32 yards out, giving the Vikings their first lead of the game, 17-14. The lead was short lived. Following a Myricks kickoff return out to the 23, Giles found Smarr just past midfield and Smarr did the rest, fighting off the Viking defenders enroute to a 77-yard touchdown and a four-point Warrior lead. That proved to be the last score of the half and E-W went into the locker room holding onto a 4 point lead.
The second half started off ominously as following the kickoff, the Warriors soon faced a 3rd and 20 from their own 14-yard line. Things would quickly brighten up as Giles tossed the ball in Smarr’s direction and he was able to out-jump two defenders to come down with it and then race the remaining distance to complete a 86-yard scoring play and the Warriors were back up by 11. The lead shrunk to four in less than a minute as Eason found Gavin O’Neil on a 53-yard pass on the Vikings’ second play of their next drive.
The Warriors took all of just over two minutes to score themselves in a drive that featured a 20-yard QB keeper by Giles, a 34-yard screen pass to Mac McLachlan and was completed with a 6-yard touchdown run by Opoku-Mensah as the game neared the halfway point of the 3rd quarter. Unfortunately for E-W, Lake was able to answer back almost as quickly as Eason hit Tevin Gray for the first of his four, second-half touchdown catches, completing a seven-play drive covering 75 yards in only seven plays.
The Vikings attempted an onside kick, but an alert Jack Scholl recovered it, giving the Warriors the ball near midfield. The Warriors were unable to capitalize and were forced to punt, but quickly regained possession as Brandon Hohengarten recovered a Viking fumble on the punt return, giving the ball to E-W at the Lake Stevens 26. Following a 10-yard pass interference penalty on Lake, Opoku-Mensah ran it in from the 16-yard line, putting the Warriors back up 11, 42-31. The margin, however, would soon go back to 4 as Eason found Gray again on a 3rd-and-19 play, with Gray breaking several tackles on his way to a 75-yard touchdown as the 3rd period was winding down. Heading into the fourth period, the Warriors were ahead 42-38.
On their first possession of the fourth quarter, the Mavericks returned to their ground game, burning time off the clock and riding the legs of Opoku-Mensah. The nine-play scoring drive took just over four minutes and featured an 18-yard pass to Lebesis, a 10-yard QB keeper by Giles and six runs by Opoku-Mensah including the 12-yard scoring run.
E-W’s defense looked several times like they might finally stop Eason and the Vikings as they forced Lake Stevens into a 4th and 12 with just under seven minutes left in the game. Unfortunately for the Warriors, Eason was able to find Riley Krenz for 20 yards, allowing Lake to maintain possession. Three plays later, Eason found Gray for a 16-yard TD and following a successful 2-point conversion, it was now 49-46 E-W. Lake Stevens then played a “bend/not break” defense leading to their eventual stop of the Warriors’ last drive and getting the ball back for what proved to be the game-winning Viking drive.
Friday’s game produced some memorable statistical achievements. Lake Stevens’ sophomore quarterback threw for 508 yards and six touchdowns, four of them to Gray. E-W’s Giles passed for a season-high 325 yards and 3 TDs. Smarr caught four passes for 2 TDs and also a season-high 228 yards receiving, and Opoku-Mensah added 191 yards to his season rushing total, as well as three more TD runs.
With the win, the Vikings not only take the Wesco title, but also have the No. 1 seed going into the District play-offs next week. E-W is still very much alive in the post-season; as the No 2 seed they will still have a home game, facing Federal Way, the SPSL League’s No. 3 seed, next Friday, Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m. The game will be videostreamed live on the SoundLiveSportsNetwork.com
E-W 6:27 Myricks pass from Giles (Ebrima Fatty kick)
L/S :39 Brown pass from Eason, (Ponce Ignacio kick)
E-W 9:46 Venema 3 yard run, (Fatty kick)
L/S 7:23 Otis 11 yard run (Ponce kick)
L/S 3:44 Ponce 32 yard field goal
E-W 3:23 Smarr 77 yard pass from Giles(Fatty kick)
E-W 9:54 Smarr 86 yard pass from Giles (Fatty kick)
L/S 8:57 Otis 15 yard pass from Eason (Ignacio kick)
E-W 6:32 Opoku-Mensah 6 yard run (Fatty kick)
L/S 4:29 Gray 22 yard pass from Eason(Ignacio kick)
E-W 1:53 Opoku-Mensah 16 yard run (Fatty kick)
L/S :01 Gray 75 yard pass from Eason (Ignacio kick)
E-W 7:56 Opoku-Mensah 12 yard run (Fatty kick)
L/S 5:56 Gray 16 yard pass from Eason ( O’neil pass from Eason)
L/S :38 Gray 7 yard pass from Eason (Ignacio kick)
–by Jeff Smarr