Oak Harbor squeaks by Meadowdale

The Oak Harbor High School football team saved the best for the last quarter in Friday’s non-league game at Meadowdale.

After a scoreless first half, Meadowdale’s Connor Nelson booted field goals of 36 and 32 yards in the third quarter good for a 6-0 lead heading into the final 12 minutes of play.

In the fourth quarter, quarterback Johnny Encinas got the Wildcats on the scoreboard, hooking up with Stephen Lewis on a 12-yard strike. Mike Johnston’s kick gave Oak Harbor its first lead, 7-6.

“We were excited that we finally started playing some offense in the fourth quarter and quit making mistakes,” coach Dave Ward said. “We were a little flat to start with, but we had a good halftime and made some adjustments. The defense was solid the whole game and really kept us in it and gave us a chance once the offense clicked.”

Meadowdale (1-2), came right back when Nelson connected on his third field goal for a 9-7 lead and things were looking bad for Washington’s fifth-ranked class 4A Wildcats (3-0), as time wound down.

However, a clutch reception by senior wide receiver Michael Bell on a drive in the final two minutes of the game gave the Wildcats hope, and Encinas scored the game-winning touchdown on a 15-yard run with one minute remaining on the clock giving Oak Harbor a come-from-behind 14-9 victory.

“When we got a hurry up mode on offense we started to get into our rhythm and that was nice to see,” Ward said. “Mike made a nice catch on a fade pattern. He went up over their cornerback and Johnny put the ball up high for him and he was able to haul it in. It was a key play on that drive. We used the sideline well on that last drive. Johnny hit Steve Lewis on a wheel route and then he hit Rodrick Rumble on a nice out route and he was able to get out of bounds. We killed the clock so we had a chance.”

Encinas was 21-for-34 in passing for 224 yards and a touchdown. He has passed for nine touchdowns in three games this season and rushed for two more.

The Wildcats have a big game Friday night at arch-rival Snohomish that beat Arlington 29-25 last Friday.

“Arlington stayed with them and they had a chance to score in the fourth quarter, but then they turned the ball over,” Ward said. “I think that’s going to be the key for us, play within ourselves and not turn the ball over. Snohomish has pretty good and they have some physical kids. I think we just have to play hard and not spot them any kind of a lead at the beginning, and we should be okay.”

Kickoff in Snohomish is set for 7 p.m.

WesCo North scores Sept. 14

Oak Harbor 14, Meadowdale 9

Lake Stevens 34, Monroe 14

Marysville-Pilchuck 31, Everett 13

Cascade 28, Stanwood 7

Snohomish 29, Arlington 25

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