Prep football: Mavs move on to quarterfinals after thrilling, come-from-behind win

“Welcome to the quarterfinals,” screamed an exuberant Meadowdale football coach Matt Leonard to his team in the locker room after the Mavs had just completed another come-from-behind thriller, outlasting Kelso 24-20 in a first-round 3A high school playoff game Friday night at Edmonds District Stadium.

The Mavericks, who scored the go-ahead points with just under a minute left, didn’t have victory assured until Kelso ran out of time on the victor’s three yard line. Meadowdale had gone ahead on a 48-yard pass from Drew Tingstad to Haelin Roberts. The senior quarterback and his receiver turned a 4th-and-19 play into a touchdown.

After Kelso kicked a field goal with just over three minutes left to go up by two, Meadowdale started what would end up being the game-winning drive on its own 19. Tingstad moved his team methodically down the field, throwing the ball 10 times with the only running play being a QB keeper to keep the drive alive. After a first down, Tingstad found Will Schaefer for a 15-yard out pattern and quickly the ball was out to the 47. The Mavs then moved into Kelso territory on another Schaefer reception. A first-down pass was quickly negated by a penalty and after two incomplete passes and a false start penalty, the Mavs needed 19 yards just to keep the drive going. Tingstad escaped the pass rush and found Roberts across the middle, who not only caught it, but was able to elude the Highlander tacklers and scamper down the sideline for the score.

“Haelin made a double move and Drew found our all-conference receiver,” Leonard said. “We call it our 10-and-5 play,” referring to the two players’ numbers. “During the timeout I just said ‘go make a play.'”

Roberts said of the score, “My first thought was to get out of bounds, then I saw I had an opening so I took it.”

The second half, unlike the first, was filled with scoring. Tied at 3, Meadowdale had the ball first in the third quarter and went to work running the “hurry-up” offense, scoring the first touchdown of the game in 93 seconds. The first play was a 36-yard run by Kela Marshall on a direct snap. Another Marshall run was followed by a 16-yard effort from Jashon Butler, and the Mavs were inside the 20. After a pass to Roberts, Tingstad called his own number, rushing in from 5 yards for the score.

“That was always our goal, to run up-tempo, but we couldn’t run the ball in the first half and it’s tough to run that style when you’re always facing 3rd and long,” Leonard said.

After both teams were forced to punt, Kelso took over at its own 28 and moved the ball 72 yards for the equalizing score. Quarterback A.J. Hoggatt found sophomore Riley Noah for 21 yards and the touchdown. Things got dicey for the Mavs as they fumbled the kickoff and Kelso took over at the Meadowdale 27. Four plays later, Hoggart found Peyton Noah and the Highlanders were up 7.

Meadowdale looked poised to tie the game, quickly driving into Kelso territory, but a bad snap cost them 21 yards and once again, Kelso had possession. Four plays later, after the Mavs forced the Highlanders to punt, the snap went over the punter’s head, resulting in a safety, making it a 17-12 game. After the free kick, Meadowdale took over at mid-field and on the first play, Marshall went 50 yards for a score and a one-point Mavs lead. “He’s a warrior,”Leonard said of his running back. “He’s so beat up right now, but he just refuses to come off the field.” The Mavs failed in their attempt at two and clung to a one- point lead.

Taking over with almost 10 minutes left, Kelso mounted a 12-play drive, rushing the ball on every play. After a 30-yard run by Riley Noah brought the ball to the Maverick 10, the Highlanders looked poised to score a touchdown. Following a couple more runs, Marshall sacked the quarterback, forcing a 36-yard field goal by Vicente Soto, giving the visitors a two- point lead.

The Mavericks, thanks to the passes of senior quarterback Tingstad and the hands of Schaefer and Roberts, then put Meadowdale back in front and left their playoff fate in the hand of the defense. “I just do my job,” said Schaefer,” and I really look up to Haelin as both a teammate and also as a person.”

Having taken the lead, the Mavs still had to stop Kelso to punch their ticket to the quarterfinals. Starting the drive at their own 31, on the Highlanders’ second play Riley Noah caught a 19 yard pass to get to midfield. Two pass plays later, Kelso had advanced to the 30. After an incomplete pass, River Liepa looked to catch the next pass for a touchdown, but the ball was jarred loose. On third down, with the clock winding down, Noah caught a pass at the 5. After a brief discussion, Kelso was awarded one more play, but the game ended after a bobbled snap, giving Meadowdale the victory.

“I don’t know what happened at the end. It doesn’t matter really,” Leonard said of the decision to give Kelso the extra plays. “Our kids just keep on playing and find a way to win. ” Added Schaefer: “We like to keep it interesting for the fans.”

Tingstad threw for nearly 200 yards with both a passing and rushing TD, while Marshall ran for over 125 yards, including the 50-yard score. Roberts had seven catches for 85 yards. The Mavericks, who lost their season-opening game by 47 points and who last week came back from 21 points down, will host a quarter-final game next week, with the opponent yet to be determined.

“We’re not the same team as we were then,” Tingstad said. “We’ve really come together as a team.”

 

Kelso                     0 3 14 3 20

Meadowdale     0 3 7 14 24

Scoring

2nd quarter

K – 4:29 Vincente Soto 36 yard FG

M-1:39 Will Schaefer 33 yard FG

3rd quarter

M-10:27 Tingstad 5 yard run (Schaefer kick)

K- 3:48 Noah 5 yard pass from Hoggatt

K- 2:09 Noah 24 yard pass from Hoggatt

4th quarter

M- 11:00 Safety

M- 9:41 Kela Marshall 50 yard run (pass failed)

K- 3:08 Soto 36 yard FG

M- :57 Roberts 48 yard pass from Tingstad

— By Jeff Smarr

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