Maverick 'D' spells defeat for Wildcats | Football

Casey Ferguson levels a Meadowdale ball carrier. - John Fisken / Whidbey News-Times
Casey Ferguson levels a Meadowdale ball carrier.
— image credit: John Fisken / Whidbey News-Times

As advertised.

The much touted Meadowdale defense matched its billing as it shut down the high-energy Oak Harbor offense in the second half and led the Mavericks to a 34-17 win at Edmonds District Stadium Thursday, Oct. 27.

The win earned undefeated and fifth-ranked Meadowdale (8-0, 9-0) the Western Conference championship and handed seventh-ranked Oak Harbor (7-1, 8-1) its first defeat of 2011 in the regular season finale for both schools.

Now it’s on to the playoffs. Oak Harbor hosts Eastside Catholic Friday, Nov. 4, at Wildcat Memorial Stadium at 7 p.m. in the district cross-over play-in round. This will be the Wildcats’ first trip to the post season since 2007.

Meadowdale entered the game with the conference’s top defense, allowing only eight points per game. Oak Harbor came in averaging 51. Something had to give and the Mavericks didn’t.

The Wildcats led 17-14 at the break but managed only 35 yards of offense in the second half.

Oak Harbor coach Jay Turner said the Meadowdale D was “better in person than on film.”

He added, “Their linebackers are beasts.”

The game turned late in the third quarter. With Meadowdale leading 21-17, Oak Harbor was facing a fourth-and-11 at its own 27. Turner called for a fake punt, but a missed blocking assignment blew up the play and Josiah Miller, the Wildcat punter, was thrown for a 9-yard loss.

The Mavs took over at the 18 and scored two plays later, and Oak Harbor never recovered.

Turner said, "We didn’t execute it the way we were supposed to. But that’s on me. We weren’t moving the ball and I thought it would get the momentum back.”

Oak Harbor did have the momentum in the beginning. On Meadowdale's first possession, Casey Ferguson sacked Maverick QB Brian Marty and forced a fumble recovered by Josh McVey, and the ‘Cats took over at the Meadowdale 46.

Miller, who started the drive with a 14-yard run, finished it with a 21-yarder. Peter Franssen kicked the point after and Oak Harbor led 7-0.

Meadowdale, like Oak Harbor, is a run-first team, but two passes by Marty proved pivotal.

The first came when Meadowdale was sitting third-and-20. Marty hit Ryan White for 46 yards at the OH 12, setting up the tying touchdown.

Oak Harbor regained the lead on Franssen’s 31-yard field goal, set up by Brent Ryan’s 36-yard run.

After a short punt and good return, Meadowdale had the ball at the Oak Harbor 31. In two plays, the Mavericks led 14-10.

Oak Harbor went 70 yards in just over two minutes to score with four seconds left in the half on an Ian Kolste pass to Mike Washington. The 15-yard, juggling catch put Oak Harbor up 17-14.

The second half was all Meadowdale. Oak Harbor had only four first downs after the break, and two of those came off penalties. The Wildcats also suffered an interception and the failed fake punt.

Marty struck again on the Mavericks' first possession of the third quarter, hitting Kyler Larsen on a 44-yard bomb that put Meadowdale up for good.

Marty threw just five passes, but hit four for 100 yards.

Oak Harbor was forced to throw in the second half and didn’t get the same results. Kolste misfired on all seven of his attempts after going 4-for-6 the first half.

He finished 4-for-13 for 42 yards.

Miller and Ryan, the two-headed engine of the Oak Harbor offense, had solid, but not spectacular, nights. Miller ran for 89 yards on 16 carries and scored one touchdown.

Ryan picked up 111 yards on 20 carries.

As a team, Oak Harbor finished with 193 yards rushing and 206 total yards.

Meadowdale racked up 403 yards.

Turner said, “I thought we played well in the first half. But when they (Meadowdale) needed to make plays, they did. We didn’t.”

Eastside Catholic from Sammamish will provide a stiff test for the Wildcats. The Crusaders are 6-3, but all three loses came to team’s ranked in the state’s top 10, including a 20-19 loss to third-ranked and undefeated O’Dea.

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