After almost three quarters of their football road battle at Kamiak, the Edmonds-Woodway Warriors found themselves tied at 21. Unfortunately for E-W, Kamiak would score the final points of the game on a long, sustained drive, taking the lead with seven minutes left, and ultimately winning 28-21. “Both teams played great,” said E-W coach John Gradwohl. “We just came up short.”
Initially the game showed promise for E-W. On the fifth play of the Warriors’ opening drive, Chantz Justice took the handoff on 4th and 2 and dashed 42 yards into the end zone for an early 7-0 lead. Said Kamiak coach Dan Mack, “He (Justice) is a lot faster in person than he is on film. What a nice player.”
Kamiak took the ensuing kickoff and after advancing to the Warrior 31, Nick Venema stopped the Knights’ Joseph Binda Jr. on a swing pass for no gain, setting up a punt, which would go out of bounds at the E-W 22. The Warriors would fail to advance and would kick it back to Kamiak.
Starting the Knights’ second drive at their own 41, Binda Jr. started to have his way running through the Warrior defense, including taking the hand-off on the Warrior 3 to tie the game at 7.
The Warriors would quickly answer. Following a Connor McCole kickoff return to the 25, E-W quarterback Nick Morales scrambled 8 yards and then Justice struck again, sprinting 67 yards for a touchdown and a 14-7 Warrior lead. Justice would end up leading the Warriors with 111 yard of rushing.
The lead would prove to be short lived as Binda Jr. took the next two carries for Kamiak 46 yards and then Kamiak quarterback Tyler Becker found Jared Pexton on a swing pass and Pexton did the rest, going 15 yards for the equalizing score. “Our offensive line makes it easy for me,” said Binda Jr. “Pexton, he just makes plays.”
The Warriors’ next possession ended on their own 30 with Venema stopped on a 4th and 1. Five plays later, Becker scored for Kamiak on a keeper from the 1-yard line. E-W had a chance to tie the score before the half, but their drive would stall at the Kamiak 30 yard line. At the half, the score stood at 21-14 Kamiak.
Kamiak took the second half kickoff out to the 18 and Binda Jr. and the Knights advanced to the 46 before the Warrior defense stiffened, forcing a punt which went out at the E-W 24. The Warriors after a few first downs also had to punt with Brendan Davis’s boot rolling dead at the Kamiak 13. Two plays later, Becker’s pass to Pexton was fumbled, giving the Warriors possession in Knight territory. Three plays later, Morales ran a bootleg for 6 yards and the equalizing TD with 2:25 left in the 3rd.
Kamiak would take the lead for good on the next drive, spending almost seven minutes to drive 69 yards with the score coming on a backhanded flip from a scrambling Becker from the 5-yard line. Pexton was responsible twice for extending the drive, coming down with both a 13- and 15 yard reception. The Warriors had the Knights in a 4th and 10 position after a Tanner Caraco sack, but Becker was able to escape the pressure and gain 11, setting up the go-ahead TD. “We had containment and pressure, but Becker is just faster than our ends,” said Gradwohl. Nate Schubert caught the winning pass from Becker.
The Warriors would get two chances to score the equalizer in the final seven minutes. The first chance ended when Pexton intercepted a pass at the Kamiak 35 and following a Kamiak punt, E-W would fumble the ball back to the Knights. Kamiak was able to run out the clock with both Becker and Binda Jr running successfully. Binda Jr would end up with 147 yards to lead all rushers. “We know they (E-W) try and overload the box,” said Binda Jr. “I just tried to cut to avoid it.”
Despite the loss, Gradwohl was encouraged. “We’re gonna learn a lot. We fought til’ the end. Nick (Morales) played a heckuva game. I’m encouraged.”
Next up for the Warriors (1-1) is a matchup with neighboring rival Meadowdale (1-1). The always big “jam the stands” game takes on added significance this year as both teams are now in 3A, making it the conference opener for both teams. The game starts at 8pm and will be broadcast on the Sound LiveSportsNetwork.com.
At Goddard Stadium
1 2 3 4 F
Warriors 7- 0- 0- 7 – 14
Knights 7-21- 7- 0 – 35
E- 9:08, Justice 42 yard run (Ebrima Fatty kick)
K-9:47 Binda Jr, 3 yard run ( Chance Lord kick)
E-9:17 Justice 67 yard run (Fatty kick)
K-7:40 Pexton 15 yard pass from Becker (Lord kick)
K-3:14 Becker 1 yard run (Lord run)
E-2:26, Morales 16 yard run (Fatty kick)
K-7:28, Schubert 5 yard pass from Becker (Lord kick)
— By Jeff Smarr