'Cats top Chargers, set up title showdown | Football
By JIM WALLER
Whidbey News Times Sports editor
October 16, 2012 · Updated 9:40 AM
First the playoffs, next the division title.
The Oak Harbor High School football team assured itself of a playoff spot with a 28-14 win at Marysville Getchell Friday, Oct. 12.
Now the Wildcats host Marysville-Pilchuck at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, in the final conference game with the divisional title on the line.
Oak Harbor's season followed a similar pattern last fall; this time the Wildcats hope things turn out differently.
In 2011, the Wildcats and Meadowdale, both undefeated, met in the final Wesco match, a 34-17 win for the Mavericks.
This time around, Oak Harbor and M-P have identical 3-0, 6-1 records.
The similarity doesn't end there. Check out these scores against common opponents:
OH 27, Snohomish 3.
M-P 28, Snohomish 3.
OH 36, Arlington 15.
M-P 42, Arlington 14.
OH 47, Everett 7.
M-P 49, Everett 14.
The two schools both lost to 4A Lake Stevens. The Vikings beat Oak Harbor 41-28 and the Tomahawks 45-21.
Marysville-Pilchuck did have more convincing wins over Marysville Getchell (42-7) and Stanwood (69-6). Oak Harbor stopped Stanwood 48-3.
Both teams run the wing-T offense. And while both teams favor the run over the pass, both have very capable quarterbacks.
Going into last Friday's games, Oak Harbor's Ian Kolste led the Wesco 3A North with 844 passing yards, hitting 48 of 88. Marysville-Pilchuck's Jake Luton was second with 634 yards on 35 of 65.
Luton, a 6-foot-6 junior, is getting looks from division 1 schools.
The Tomahawks' running game is guided by sophomore Austin Joyner, who leads the league with 888 yards on 61 carries, an eye-popping 14.6 yards per carry, and in touchdowns with 11. Teammate Casey Walker is second in the division with 654 yards on 70 carries, a 9.3 average.
Oak Harbor will counter with Fred Webster, third in the conference with 633 yards on 109 carries, a 5.8 average.
One thing that the two don't have in common is a state ranking. Oak Harbor is sixth in the state 3A AP poll and Marysville-Pilchuck is inexplicably unranked.
The ranking may have to do with name recognition. Oak Harbor won the state title in 2006 and has followed that achievement with several other strong seasons. M-P won Wesco titles in 2008 and 2009 and was second in 2010.
Although Oak Harbor has the higher ranking, Oak Harbor coach Jay Turner said beating Marysville-Pilchuck would be an upset. He pointed out that the Tomahawks were picked in every preseason poll to win the Wesco North.
Turner, who is a graduate of Marysville-Pilchuck High School, said, "They are bigger than us and have speed at the skill positions. We need to slow down their offense to win. They want to run the ball -- they will pass to keep the defense honest -- so we need to stop the run."
The Oak Harbor win over Marysville Getchell was the Wildcats' second straight lackluster performance. Turner said he is not concerned heading into the M-P tilt. "I don't think we will have any trouble getting fired up to play. It's homecoming, it's for first place, it's at home."
Turner said the sometimes-shaky performance at Marysville Getchell was possibly caused by the fact the students did not have school that day (because of parent-teacher conferences) and their normal routine was thrown off. It was also Oak Harbor's third-straight road game.
Oak Harbor got out of the gate quickly against Getchell, racing to a 21-0 lead, thanks in part to two big plays by Sheyenne Sams. The touchdowns came from a 13-yard Dakota Sinchak run, a 76-yard pass from Kolste to Sams and a 50-yard run by Sams.
Sams later scored on a one yard run in the third quarter.
Turner said Oak Harbor led 28-7 in the third and was driving to put the nail in the coffin when it lost possession on a fumble.
He said, "We played flat after that."
He added, "We were our own biggest problem; we made enough mistakes to last a season."
"The kids knew it," Turning said, pointing out that there was no celebrating in the locker room after the game although the Wildcats wrapped up the playoff berth.
Oak Harbor ran for 234 yards, led by Webster with 115 on 21 carries. Sams added 60 on eight rushes.
Kolste was 5-for-10 for 130 yards.
Regardless of the outcome of Oak Harbor's final two games against Marysville-Pilchuck and a crossover match with the Wesco 3A South, the Wildcats have secured one of Wesco's six berths in the round of 32 in the playoffs.
Contact Whidbey News Times Sports editor Jim Waller at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-675-6611 ext. 5060.