Prep football: Punt return touchdown helps lift Meadowdale past Shorewood

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Meadowdale's Haelin Roberts runs for a big gain against Shorewood during a Wesco 3A game Friday night at Shoreline Stadium. (Photos by David Pan)
Meadowdale’s Haelin Roberts runs for a big gain against Shorewood during a Wesco 3A game Friday night at Shoreline Stadium. (Photos by David Pan)

Meadowdale was looking for some sort of spark after a frustrating first half against Shorewood.

The Mavericks had the ball inside the Thunderbird 5-yard line twice but came away with no points each time. A couple of turnovers also stymied the Meadowdale offense.

With about 15 seconds left in the second quarter and the ball deep in its own territory, Shorewood punted the ball to Meadowdale’s Tyree Carson, who delivered what the Mavericks needed.

Carson returned the punt 45 yards for a touchdown and cut a 14-6 lead in half to 14-12 as the teams headed for the locker rooms.

Meadowdale rode that momentum with a strong second half performance and defeated Shorewood 24-21 in a Wesco 3A football game Friday night at Shoreline Stadium.

Meadowdale's Tyee Carson (left) avoids Shorewood's Isaac Whitaker and returns a punt 45 yards for a touchdown.
Meadowdale’s Tyee Carson (left) avoids Shorewood’s Isaac Whitaker and returns a punt 45 yards for a touchdown.

“Tyree flipped the whole game for us,” said Meadowdale coach Matt Leonard. “That punt put us back in the game, especially since they were going to get the ball after halftime. That was so crucial. That was the play of the game to me.”

The Thunderbirds did retake the lead 21-12 on an 8-yard TD pass from quarterback Aaron Okamura to running back Isaac Whitaker on the opening drive of the third quarter.

But Meadowdale battled back with a 5-yard TD run by running back Kela Marshall to cut the deficit to 21-18. Then in the fourth quarter, Maverick quarterback Maxwell Johnson connected on a 14-yard touchdown pass to Zachary Plummer as Meadowdale seized a 24-21 lead.

This was Johnson’s second start for starter Drew Tingstad, who broke his hand two weeks ago. Johnson had one day of practice as the starting quarterback before last week’s loss to Glacier Peak. He had a full week to prepare for Shorewood.

“I thought he was awesome,” Leonard said. “He’s had one of week practice and most guys have six months of that. He’s just a warrior. … I thought he played sensational.”

The Mavericks were able to shake off the disappointment of last week’s 45-0 loss to the Grizzlies. “We had a phenomenal week of practice,” Leonard said. “We played real hard tonight.”

The defense, with Tingstad seeing time at defensive end with the broken hand, had a solid game. “They really had one play in the second half,” Leonard said. “Other than that, we shut them down.”

In the first half, the turnovers and subsequent short field made it difficult for the Maverick defense, Leonard added.

A 1-yard TD run by Marshall gave the Mavericks (2-2 in the league, 2-3 overall) a 6-0 lead on the opening drive of the game. But Shorewood (0-4, 0-5) responded with two TDs in the second quarter to take a 14-6 advantage.

Meadowdale will see the return of six players next week.

“We should be healthy next week and that’s good news,” Leonard said.

— By David Pan

Meadowdale's Kela Marshall (6) runs behind
Meadowdale’s Kela Marshall (6) runs behind center Lucas Hummel, while Shorewood’s Alex Tsolomon (3) waits to tackle him.

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