Incredible: Wildcats shock Glacier Peak | Football
By JIM WALLER
Whidbey News Times Sports editor
September 10, 2011 · 10:18 AM
Grab a thesaurus and look up “incredible.”
Undoubtedly the words listed won’t be adjective enough to describe Oak Harbor’s improbable 30-27 win over Glacier Peak at Snohomish High School’s War Veterans Stadium Friday, Sept. 9.
The Wildcats scored three touchdowns in the final five minutes to stun the Grizzlies.
Was it the best comeback in Oak Harbor history? “It was in my 16 years here,” said head coach Jay Turner.
Though the season is only two weeks old and there is much football to be played, it was an important win for the Wildcats if they hope to capture the Wesco 3A crown. Glacier Peak, the defending champions, is considered one of the preseason favorites to grab the 2011 title, and Oak Harbor blew through that barrier on its journey toward a playoff spot.
It was only fitting that Brent Ryan score the go ahead touchdown with 18 seconds left.
In a game of many heroes, Ryan was the one consistent offensive threat for the Wildcats as its offense sputtered much of the game. The 220-pound running back toted the ball 27 body-jarring times, all into the
teeth of the Grizzly defense, for 132 yards and three scores.
Ryan also caused a fumble (recovered by Dakota Sinchak) that set up the winning drive.
Oak Harbor scored first when Peter Franssen lined through a 31-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter. The kick was set up by quarterback Ian Kolste’s 51-yard bomb to Mike Washington.
Glacier Peak drove 80 yards, including a fourth-down conversion, to go up 7-3 with 9:07 left in the half.
That was it for the first-half scoring as Sinchak stopped a GP threat with an interception at the goal line just before the break.
The Wildcats drove 68 yards on the second half’s first possession to take a 10-7 lead with 6:19 left in the quarter. The drive included a 16-yard pass from Kolste to Austyn Walker, a 10-yard completion to Washington
on a fourth-and-four, and a heavy does of Ryan, who bulled in from the three for the score. Franssen added the PAT.
The lead lasted two plays when Glacier Peak’s David Linney hooked up with Evan Nelson on a 74-yard TD throw.
The next Wildcat drive featured a fake punt from the Oak Harbor 41 on fourth-and-11. Josiah Miller scampered 16 yards for the first down on the gutsy call, but the drive died at the Grizzly 28.
Early in the fourth quarter, a short Oak Harbor punt gave Glacier Peak the ball at the Wildcat 48. Two minutes later, GP scored to go up 21-10 with 8:35 left.
On the first play after the kickoff, Oak Harbor fumbled and Glacier Peak recovered at the 19. Two plays later it was 27-10 with 7:09 left and the Wildcats were in deep trouble.
Turner admitted at that point that things looked bleak: “Our kids had their heads between their tails.” He said that the coaches got them fired up and Miller provided the spark that ignited the comeback inferno.
The Grizzlies did a great job for three-and-a-half quarters of minimizing the damage that the dynamic Miller can cause. At that time he had only 45 yards on 12 rushes. But the next play involving Miller stoked the
He collected a short pass from Kolste and finished with an electric 30-yard gain to the Glacier Peak 30.
Nine-yard runs by Ryan and Miller took the ball to the one. Ryan scored with 5:01 left and Oak Harbor trailed 27-17.
Glacier Peak elected to go for it with fourth-and-three at midfield and gained 2.9 yards.
The Wildcats took over with 3:06 left in the game. Kolste fired to Franssen for a 41-yard TD with 2:48 left and Oak Harbor was back in it. A penalty on the PAT pushed the attempt back five yards, and Glacier Peak got a hand on the try. The miss made it 27-23 and now required Oak Harbor to score a touchdown and not a field goal to get back in the game.
The Grizzlies recovered the on-side kick at the Oak Harbor 49 and gained nine yards on their first play, just one yard shy of a first down that could wipe out most of the game clock.
The ‘Cat defense stuffed GP for a four-yard loss on the next play, then came Ryan’s big hit that caused a fumble with 1:08 left.
Starting at the OH 49, Miller, again, corralled a Kolste pass and helped turn it into a 43-yard gain. Oak Harbor was at the six with 46 seconds left.
Ryan gained one yard, then Kolste hit Washington in the back of the end zone on what appeared to be a score, but the official ruled the receiver out of bounds and it was third-and-five.
Miller caught a short pass and was tackled at the three, but a face-mask penalty moved the ball to the 1.5 and stopped the clock. Ryan and the offensive line did their bullish thing, Franssen kicked the extra point and it was 30-27 with 18 seconds left.
Glacier Peak had time for three plays but didn’t threaten. Its final lateral-filled play accomplished little but raise the anxiety level of the Oak Harbor fans as the Grizzlies weaved back-and-forth across the field before fumbling.
Turner lauded his team’s effort and said, “This is a testament to our kids.”
Kolste finished the game with 211 yards passing after hitting nine of 23. Oak Harbor piled up 435 yards.
Miller topped the defense with nine tackles, Cody Hernkind added eight, including a sack, and Nick Farrell had seven.
Oak Harbor (2-0) now faces Shorewood (0-2) at home Friday, Sept. 16, at 7 p.m.
Turner noted that it is a long season and now his club can’t afford a let down after the thrilling win. He said, “This (the Glacier Peak win) could be huge for us, but only if we take care of business the rest of the way.”
Incredible: absurd, far-fetched, implausible, impossible, incogitable, inconceivable…none will do; you had to be there.