Give the Meadowdale big boys some credit.
A dominating performance by the Mavericks’ front line resulted in a 22-14 win over Oak Harbor Friday, Oct. 26, at Wildcat Memorial Stadium.
The game was for playoff seeding purposes and featured the second-place teams from the two Western Conference 3A divisions. Meadowdale picked up the fourth seed with the win; Oak Harbor gets the fifth.
Ironically, Oak Harbor (6-3) may have received the better matchup with its loss. Meadowdale (7-2) now takes on the Metro League champion, second-ranked and undefeated Eastside Catholic (9-0). Oak Harbor travels to Gig Harbor to face twice-beaten Peninsula High School, the South Puget Sound League champion, at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2.
Meadowdale’s win was part of a Southern uprising in the Wesco seeding games. Glacier Peak (8-1), the top team from the South, defeated the North titlist Marysville-Pilchuck (7-2) 49-40, in spite of giving up 556 rushing yards to the Tomahawks, to earn the Wesco 3A championship. The Grizzlies earned the top seed into the playoffs: M-P receives the second.
The South’s Mountlake Terrace (5-4) defeated Marysville Getchell (4-5) 39-8 in the game for the sixth and final playoff spot.
Ferndale (8-1), the only District 1 3A school not in the Western Conference, gets the third seed.
Meadowdale didn’t do anything fancy against Oak Harbor, it just methodically pounded the ball on the ground, settling for middling gains, moving the chains and eating up the clock. Then, with the Wildcats playing for the run, burned Oak Harbor with a couple of long passes.
The massive Meadowdale front did its job regardless of who played behind it. Oak Harbor could have used two-way, all-league lineman Jeremy Foster, who is injured, to help in the battle at the line of scrimmage. However, Meadowdale had its own problems.
The Mavericks started the year 6-0 but lost its last two games after star quarterback Brian Marty’s season ended with a broken leg. In the second quarter of the Oak Harbor game, leading rusher Giavani Shepard left with an ankle injury. No. 2 rusher Morgan Masanda missed the game as well.
Converted running back Malik Braxton made his first start at quarterback and rushed for two touchdowns and threw for another. Reserve running back Amanuel Tekie picked up 78 yards on 16 carries, and Shepard had 52 yards on 12 runs in two quarters of work.
In all, Meadowdale didn’t put up gaudy numbers, 173 yards on 48 carries and 77 passing yards, but it did enough to win.
The dominance of its line was evident on defense. Oak Harbor rushed for only 108 yards. The Wildcats have thrived this season on a heavy dose of Fred Webster, its battering-ram back, powering between the tackles. Webster, however, finished with only 36 yards on nine carries.
The Wildcats turned to the air, and Ian Kolste completed 17 of 28 passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns; he threw one interception. JoJo Webster caught 10 passes for 127 yards, and Dakota Sinchak caught four for 61 yards and both scores.
The way the game started, it looked like an Oak Harbor win. The Wildcats took the opening possession 59 yards in four minutes to go up 7-0. Kolste hit Sinchak from 19 yards for the score and Frank Grecco’s PAT kick fluttered through after being partially blocked.
Meadowdale, in its first possession, went backward and punted on fourth-and-19.
Oak Harbor again drove 59 yards and again scored on a Kolste to Sinchak throw, this one covering 31 yards as Sinchak spun out of one tackle and broke a second on the way to the end zone.
Meadowdale followed with seven straight running plays before burning Oak Harbor deep on a 45-yard pass for a TD. The PAT snap was mishandled, but the Maverick holder Josiah Evans recovered and threw for a two-point conversion with 8:44 left in the half.
After an Oak Harbor punt, the Mavericks drove 60 yards on 10 running plays and went up 15-14 at the half.
Oak Harbor had only four possessions in the second half. The first ended at the Meadowdale 32 when it failed to convert on fourth down. The next three all ended inside the Mav 30, two inside the 20, as the Wildcats couldn’t find the end zone.
Meadowdale scored on the first play of the fourth quarter to make it 22-14.
The Wildcats then reached the Maverick 29 before Kolste was intercepted.
After one first down, Meadowdale punted and JoJo Webster returned it 43 yards to the Oak Harbor 48 with 3:57 left. Two Kolste completions of 16 yards to JoJo Webster and Isaiah Trower helped move the ball to the 11, but the drive ended on downs with 1:14 left.
Meadowdale took a knee for three straight snaps, Oak Harbor used its final two time outs, the Mavericks punted (poorly) and the Wildcats had one last hope, getting the ball at the Meadowdale 41 with 19 seconds left.
Kolste connected with JoJo Webster for 25 yards and then threw an incompletion in the end zone. With :00.1 showing on the clock and time for one more play, Meadowdale’s front line made one more statement: Kolste was sacked without time to release even a desperation throw.