In a game of scoring runs, Marysville-Pilchuck recorded the final 26 points to wipe away an 18-point deficit and win the Wesco North 3A title with a 47-39 victory over Oak Harbor at a packed, rain-drenched Wildcat Memorial Stadium on Homecoming night Friday, Oct. 19.
The two teams entered the game with identical 3-0, 6-1 records. Now Marysville-Pilchuck meets Glacier Peak, who beat Meadowdale 25-7 for the Wesco South 3A title, next Friday for the top seed into the playoffs.
Oak Harbor hosts the South’s No. 2 team, Meadowdale (3-1, 6-2), at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26. With the Northwest Conference’s Ferndale most likely getting the second or third seed, the Wildcats and Mavericks will determine the fourth and fifth seeds.
Not only did M-P wrap up the North crown with its win over Oak Harbor, but snatched up a home game in the first round of the playoffs. The top three Wesco seeds open the tournament at home.
The Wildcat/Tomahawk tussle gave the scoreboard a workout. Oak Harbor scored the game’s first 14 points. Maryville-Pilchuck then ran off 21 straight to take the lead. The Wildcats answered with 25 to go up 39-21. Finally, the Tomahawks bounced back to score 26 in the fourth quarter to secure the win in a game with more shifts than an 18-wheeler.
Turnovers were devastating to both team, but the Marysville-Pilchuck’s ground game gashed the Wildcats when the Tommies were able to hold on to the ball. M-P ran for 432 yards, led by sophomore star Austin Joyner who piled up 260 yards on 16 carries. He had five runs of at least 25 yards, one for 70. Kasey Walker added 113 yards on 23 carries. Junior quarterback Jake Luton threw only nine passes, but hit eight – all to Kyle Nobach – for 66 yards.
In all, M-P collected 498 yards to 336 for Oak Harbor.
Sheyenne Sams ran for 114 yards on 15 carries for Oak Harbor and Fred Webster had 113 on 26 rushes. Quarterback Ian Kolste threw for 103 yards but had a rough game, connecting on only eight of 20 and throwing two interceptions inside the Marysville-Pilchuck 5-yard line and fumbling a snap late in the fourth quarter.
JoJo Webster returned two fumbles for touchdowns for the Wildcats, one for the game’s first score.
After both teams started the game with three-and-outs, Webster scooped up a Tomahawk fumble and raced 55 yards to get the scoring going. Frank Gecco kicked the extra point.
On the second play after the kickoff, Joyner ran for 25 yards before fumbling to Oak Harbor. The ‘Cats went 54 yards in six plays, capped by a 3-yard pass from Kolste to JoJo Webster for the score.
Maryville-Pilchuck got on the board with 1:33 left in the first quarter on a 4-yard pass from Luton to Nobach. Ryan Spiva kicked the extra point to make it 14-7.
Oak Harbor drove to the Marysville 4-yard line, but Connor Martinis picked off Kolste.
With the help of a 40-yard run by Joyner, the Tommies scored when Hunter Trueax ran in from 27 yards out, fumbling at the 1 but recovering the ball in the end zone.
Marysville-Pilchuck then forced an Oak Harbor punt and eventually scored on a Walker 1-yard plunge to lead 21-14.
Sams highlighted the next Oak Harbor drive with runs of 22 and 15 yards, setting up Grecco’s 25-yard field goal with eight seconds left in the half, cutting M-P’s lead to 21-17.
In the first possession of the second half, JoJo Webster turned a near disaster into six points. Oak Harbor drove to the Tomahawk 25, then a fumble, which twice squirted out of the pile, ended up in Webster’s hands and he ran it in the final 15 yards for a TD, and Oak Harbor regained the lead, 24-21.
M-P promptly fumbled the kickoff and Oak Harbor recovered at the 14. Fred Webster scored from the 4, Grecco’s kick went wide right and the ‘Cats led 30-21.
Marysville-Pilchuck’s next possession was a mess. A holding penalty wiped out a long run, another penalty and two fumbles made it fourth-and-22. The snap on the punt was high and sailed out of the end zone for a safety.
Oak Harbor took the ensuring kick off, and 10 running plays later Sams scored from the 5 and Grecco’s kick made it 39-21 with 1:11 left in the third quarter.
Now on life support, Marysville-Pilchuck got just what the doctor ordered, two quick scores. Joyner raced 70 yards on the first play of the fourth quarter to the 1, where Luton scored on a keeper.
The Tommies then recovered the onside kick and received another 15 yards on an Oak Harbor personal foul penalty. Ninety seconds later Walker scored and it was 39-34. Joyner’s halfback pass on the PAT was intercepted by Isaiah Trower.
Needing a drive to eat up some clock, Oak Harbor was off on the right track until derailed by a holding call. Moving to the M-P 43 the ‘Cats would have had a second-and-four but ended up with a first-and-22. After a 5-yard loss, two incomplete passes stopped the clock and drive and Oak Harbor punted.
The Tommies took over at their own 38 with 8:19 left. After a 28-yard run by Walker, Joyner broke a slew of tackles for a 28-yard score. Oak Harbor stuffed Joyner on the PAT run, but Marysville-Pilchuck regained the lead 40-39 at the 6:15 mark.
On fourth-and-one, Kolste fumbled the center exchange and Marysville took over at the Wildcat 36 with 4:27 left. Luton scored from the 1 with 1:48 left.
Down by eight, Oak Harbor had one last chance. Kolste connected with Andre Cumberbatch for 34 yards, then just missed Cumberbatch who got behind the defense on the next play. After a short Fred Webster run, JoJo Webster made a diving catch at the Marysville 11. Trower ran for four yards, then after an incompletion, Joyner intercepted Kolste at the goal line to preserve the win.
Oak Harbor coach Jay Turner said, “Both teams played hard, I just wish it would have gone our way – wish we could have finished it.”
He added that the Wildcats should be healthier for the Meadowdale game, possibly getting starting left tackle Jeremy Foster and left guard Jackson Constant back.
(All statistics are unofficial.)