Meadowdale’s confidence is back.
A week after snapping a three-game losing streak, the Mavericks continued their postseason surge with a dominating 24-0 victory over Lakes in a first-round 3A state playoff game Friday night at Edmonds Stadium.
Meadowdale (7-4 overall) advances to the state quarterfinals against either Eastside Catholic or Marysville-Pilchuck, who play Saturday night.
“It feels good,” said senior cornerback/wide receiver Josiah Evans, who picked off two Lancer passes. “We worked all year for this. I think we have a good chance of making it to the Dome.”
First-year Meadowdale coach Mike Don was glad to see his team playing better the last two weeks.
“It’s really big for this group of kids. We battled some adversity at the end of the year,” Don said. “For them to be able to bounce back and just rally around each other, come into the playoffs and start playing really well, it’s awesome.”
Last week’s 28-21 district playoff victory over Timberline boosted the Mavericks’ spirits coming into Friday night’s state playoff contest.
“We kind of struggled through that (Timberline) game but we still won,” Evans said. “We all felt like we can win again. We got all the confidence back that we had before.”
Evans gave Meadowdale an immediate boost when he picked off a pass and returned it to the Lancer 23-yard line on Lakes’ first offensive possession. The turnover led to a 34-yard field goal by Brett Schafer.
Lakes (4-7) fumbled on its next offensive series and the ball was recovered by Marzel Simmons at the Lancer 49. Seven plays later, junior running back Malik Braxton scored on a 1-yard run.
After the defense forced the Lancers to punt, the Mavericks scored for a third time on a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Jeremiah Evans, Josiah’s twin brother, and Meadowdale led 17-0 at the end of the first quarter.
An interception by Jimmie Bruders led to another Meadowdale touchdown in the second quarter. Jeremiah Evans threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to tight end Charlie White and the Mavericks went into halftime ahead 24-0.
“We really stepped it up tonight offensively,” Josiah Evans said. “We created gaps for our running backs and protected the quarterback and allowed him to throw the ball.”
Lakes’ offensive struggles could be traced in part to the loss of starting quarterback Nick Webster, who was injured after being dragged out of bounds after a 46-yard run on the Lancers’ second offensive series. Webster was helped to the sidelines and then was placed on a cart. Webster had a temporary cast on his left leg.
“They ended up playing five quarterbacks tonight, which was really hard,” Don said. “I think they were just trying to find somebody who can do something. They tried just running the ball with some athletes. We were able to get after it. They put in some more throwing type of kids. It was a tough situation for them.”
The Mavericks also faced some adversity as Braxton had to leave the game in the first half due to the flu.
“He tried to go. He did a good job when he was on,” Don said. “He couldn’t finish the game for us. Rory (Spillum) did a great job.”
Spillum, who finished with 34 carries, stepped up on Meadowdale’s final drive of the game, which started at the Maverick 8 after Lakes turned the ball over on downs.
The drive began with just under nine minutes left in fourth quarter and ended with about a minute to go at the Lakes 15. Spillum carried the ball 12 times during the drive.
“They (offensive linemen) gave me some good holes out there,” Spillum said. “It started clicking.”
Don has confidence in Spillum.
“This is his first real time being the feature back and being the grind guy,” Don said. “He did a great job running hard. … Last week we weren’t able to finish like we did this time. This week we were able to grind it out in the end.”
SPILLUM NAMED PLAYER OF THE GAME: Meadowdale junior running back Rory Spillum was named the Jersey Mike’s of Lynnwood Player of the game.
UP NEXT: Meadowdale will play the winner of the Marysville-Pilchuck/Eastside Catholic game in the 3A state quarterfinals on either Nov. 22 or 23. The Tomahawks (10-0) and Crusaders (8-2) face off at 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16 at Quil Ceda Stadium in Marysville.
— By David Pan/Lynnwood Today editor