Facing the 4A state runner-up from last year, the Edmonds-Woodway Warriors knew they would have their hands full on Thursday. And while E-W was able to stand up against the Woodinville Falcons in the early stages of their match-up, Woodinville was able to use their quickness and physical play to wear down the Warriors as the evening progressed.
The Falcons scored three touchdowns in the final 4:11 of the first half to pull ahead by 27 points at halftime, then coasted to a 34-7 victory over the Warriors at Pop Keeney Stadium in Bothell.
The Warriors’ defense showed some spark in the first half, stopping the Falcons from converting a fourth-down attempt in the first drive of the game and forcing two punts later in the half. But the Woodinville attack would not be slowed as junior quarterback Noah Stifle carried the ball 29 yards for a touchdown to begin the Falcons’ late-second-quarter scoring wave.
Stifle threw touchdown passes of 48 yards to Cage Schenck and 30 yards to John Snedaker to close out the first half and give the Falcons a comfortable 27-0 lead at halftime.
“They were smart; they were doing ‘hurry-up’ (offense) and tiring my guys out,” noted E-W head Coach John Gradwohl.
Woodinville’s first touchdown also came after the Warrior defense had been on the field for an extended period of time and was showing some signs of fatigue. After the Falcons drove 40 yards in 11 plays with their first possession, the E-W defense was able to rest when Woodinville turned the ball over on downs at the Edmonds 35-yard line. But one play later the Warrior defense had to return to action after a fumble by E-W quarterback Read Carr.
The Falcons scored seven plays later on a Joey Johnson 9-yard TD run.
Things went from bad to worse for Carr in the first minute of the second quarter when the junior was tackled hard while carrying the ball. Carr suffered a bruised left hip and didn’t see any more action as senior Patrick Norton took over at quarterback.
“It was a clean play,” Gradwohl said of the hit on Carr. “Sometimes the way you come down — that’s what it was for him. He just kind of came down on it.”
Carr had been able to lead the Warriors on some extended first-quarter drives, but the offense struggled in the second quarter when Norton was forced into the game, giving Woodinville opportunities to take over the E-W side of midfield and ultimately capitalize three times on the field position.
“Patrick is a great quarterback,” Gradwohl noted, “(but) it was kind of a tough spot to put him in. He got some reps this week (in practice), but not maybe as many as he should have. I thought as the game went on he played better and better.”
Norton was at the helm of the Warrior offense when the team got its only score of the night, a Cappasio Cherry 14-yard TD run with 6:58 to go in the clash.
Gradwohl, while noting Cherry’s game effort, was more impressed with the senior’s leadership and attitude in the game.
“He’s a great player and we can talk about him as a player, but I just thought he demonstrated the kind of heart he has and the kind of teammate he is,” Gradwohl said. “I couldn’t be more proud. For someone who is a running back and gaining more than 100 yards every game … he just kept fighting and doing the best he could with what he had. He never got down or put his head down. For a high school kid that’s pretty huge.”
With the loss, E-W dropped to 0-3 this year, the first year since 2011 that the team has opened a season with three straight setbacks. With just three returning starters from last year’s squad, Gradwohl anticipated the team would show some growing pains early on.
“I told our kids that they’re doing great, they’re efforts great,” Gradwohl said. “We’re lacking experience – and every week we’re getting better as we get a little more experience.”
Prep Football: Edmonds-Woodway at Woodinville, Sept. 13
Edmonds-Woodway 0 0 0 7 — 7
Woodinville 6 21 7 0 — 34
First quarter scoring:
5:49 — Joey Johnson (Woodinville) 9-yard TD run; Blake Glessner PAT kick is blocked
Second quarter scoring:
4:11 — Noah Stifle (Woodinville) 29-yard TD run; Blake Glessner PAT kick is good
2:02 — Noah Stifle (Woodinville) 48-yard TD pass to Cage Schenck; Blake Glessner PAT kick is good
:29 — Noah Stifle (Woodinville) 30-yard TD pass to John Snedaker; Blake Glessner PAT kick is good
Third quarter scoring:
7:27 — Noah Stifle (Woodinville) 9-yard TD pass to John Snedaker; Blake Glessner PAT kick is good
Fourth quarter scoring:
6:58 — Cappasio Cherry (Edmonds-Woodway) 14-yard TD run; Sebastian Olson PAT kick is good
Records: Edmonds-Woodway 0-1 in 3A Wesco League South Conference, 0-3 overall; Woodinville 0-0 in 4A KingCo League Crown Conference, 3-0 overall
Edmonds-Woodway next game: versus Meadowdale, Friday, Sept. 21, 5 p.m. at Edmonds Stadium
— Story and photos by Doug Petrowski