Football: 2 quick scores enough for Wildcat win

Striking quickly twice in the first quarter, the Oak Harbor High School football team built a two touchdown lead and that was enough for a 14-9 nonleague win at Mount Vernon Friday, Oct. 8.

The Wildcats return to league play next Friday when they host Shorecrest in a game that should play a important role in clearing up the playoff picture. The top three teams in Wesco 3A automatically advance to the playoffs. The fourth place team will meet at team from the Northwest Conference in a play-in game for the right to continue in the playoffs. Oak Harbor (3-2, 4-2) is currently in fourth; Shorecrest is in fifth with a 2-3 record heading into last night's game with last place Lynnwood. Oak Harbor is Shorecrest's final league opponent; the Scots finish the regular season with a nonleague game with Ferndale.

After Shorecrest, the Wildcats finish up with second-place Meadowdale (5-1, 6-2).

In the win over Mount Vernon, Oak Harbor's Josiah Miller raced 75 yards on the Wildcats' second play of the game. That was it for the Oak Harbor offense.

A few minutes later Justin Counts picked off a Bulldog pass and returned it 60 yards for another TD.

Oak Harbor never threatened after that, and coach Jay Turner said his club didn't get a first down in the second half until it was running out the clock at the end of the game.

Mount Vernon reached the end zone with about two minutes left in the half.

In the fourth quarter a Mount Vernon punt rolled to within inches of the goal line. A play later the Bulldogs had a safety to cut into the lead.

Twice more in the final period the 'Dogs threatened. They drove to the 10 then missed a field goal. A drive to the Oak Harbor 30 was halted when the Wildcat defense gobbled up a fumble.

While the Oak Harbor offense sputtered, the defense "was flying to the ball," according to Turner. He added, "Series after series they got after it."

Turner said, "Mount Vernon was pretty physical, and we didn't execute well (on offense). But the kids found a way to win."

He said Miller and Sam Wolfe played well on both sides of the ball.

Wolfe's 12-yard run on third-and-seven in the final moments gave Oak Harbor its only second half first down and enabled the Wildcats to run out the clock.

Oak Harbor managed just 161 yards of total offense. Miller rushed for 84 yards on nine carries and Zack Ayer had 58 on 22. Matt Burgoyne completed just one of seven passes for 10 yards and one interception.

Turner called the Shorecrest matchup a "big game." While winning doesn't guarantee a playoff spot, he said, "ultimately we want to win" to make the path to the playoffs much easier.

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