Sports

Oak Harbor begins a new era in football

What a way to begin a football tradition!

In front of a packed house in the first-ever game played at the new Wildcat Memorial Stadium Friday evening, Oak Harbor upped its WesCo North season record to 2-0 with a dominating 35-0 victory over Arlington.

The Wildcats got off to a slow start and the score was tied 0-0 after the first 12 minutes of play, but got things rolling big time in the second quarter.

At the 4:50 mark senior quarterback Johnny Encinas connected on the first of five scoring passes, hitting senior wide receiver Rodrick Rumble from 7 yards out. Mike Johnston added the extra point for a 7-0 lead.

With 26 seconds remaining before half time, the Encinas-Rumble connection struck again and Oak Harbor held a 14-0 advantage at the break.

“The guys finally loosened up and started relaxing in the second quarter,” coach Dave Ward said. With 4,000 fans packed into the new stadium, it was no wonder they were a bit tight to start the game.

In the third quarter, it was Michael Bell’s time to shine and the senior hauled in a pair of scoring passes covering 18 and 6 yards to give the Wildcats a 28-0 lead.

Bell led all receivers with 6 catches for 84 yards.

“We wanted to win because of the new stadium and we wanted to make our fans happy,” he said. “Now we have to prepare for next week because we are away and we are going to have to play hard.”

Rumble scored the final touchdown of the game on a 12-yard pass from Encinas with 5:50 remaining on the clock.

“God blessed me with a lot of ability and I wanted to show it tonight,” he said.

Rumble caught 6 passes for 71 yards.

Sophomore running back Donovan Hunt led the Wildcats’ rushing attack carrying the ball five times for 89 yards, including ripping off a 59-yard dash up the sideline in front of the Arlington bench late in the third quarter that set up Oak Harbor’s fourth touchdown.

“It was pretty good,” he said. “I got some good blocks up front by the linemen.”

Workhorse running back Chris Valencia had a rough game and was held in check, gaining just 9 yards on seven tries.

“It was a tough night and I didn’t get enough yards,” the senior said. “They had a really tough defensive line and their linebackers were stepping up into the holes really good. They have a strong team and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them win out the rest of the season.”

The Wildcats ended the game with 299 yards in total offense, including 100 rushing yards.

“It was such a big celebration to be on this field and have all the people coming down and checking it out,” Ward said. “To be here early and see the lines of people all around the stadium was amazing. We really wanted to win this one not just for the team, but for everybody that was here tonight.”

New athletic director Nicki

Luper summed everything up the best. “It was just awesome. This is what high school football should be all about. Friday night lights.”

Oak Harbor plays on the road Friday, Sept. 14, traveling to Meadowdale.

“Meadowdale has a real good running game and they have two backs with speed,” Ward said. “They are usually a class 3A playoff team year and year out and they are always competitive in that class 4A league down south. We are going to work on our run defense this week and also work on our own running game to see if we can open some lanes for our backs.”

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Oak Harbor 35, Arlington 0

Second quarter

OH — Rodrick Rumble 7 pass from Johnny Encinas (Mike Johnston kick) 4:40

OH — Rumble 7 pass from Encinas (Johnston kick) :26

Third quarter

OH — Michael Bell 18 pass from Encinas (Johnston kick) 3:45

OH — Bell 6 pass from Encinas (Johnston kick) :31

Fourth quarter

OH — Rumble 12 pass from Encinas (Johnston kick) 5:50

Arlington Oak Harbor

First downs 9 13

Rushes-yards 26-81 27-100

Passing yards 109 199

Comp-Att 8-26-2 0 18-27-0 5

Fumbles-lost 1-1 3-0

Penalties-yards 13-100 11-75

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — Arlington: Jerad Barber 4-24, Brandon Gunter 9-17, Marcus Dolan 2-11, Colt Kesselring 3-10, Brad McPherson 1-9, Chris Myers 1-3. Oak Harbor: Donovan Hunt 5-89, Chris Valencia 7-9, Johnny Encinas 7-4, Brad Farnum 3-3, Bennett Richter 1-2, Rodrick Rumble 1-1, Stephen Lewis 1-1.

PASSING — Arlington: Gunter 8-26-2 109. Oak Harbor: Encinas 18-27-0 199.

RECEIVING — Arlington: Barber 1-49, Josh Acker 2-21, Keating 1-17, Kesselring 1-3. Oak Harbor: Michael Bell 6-84, Rumble 6-71, Jake Rouser 3-25, Jordan Young 2-16, Valencia 1-3.

WesCo North standings

as of Sept. 8

League Overall

Team W L W L

Oak Harbor 2-0 2-0

Snohomish 2-0 2-0

Lake Stevens 1-0 2-0

Cascade 1-1 1-1

Everett 1-1 1-1

Stanwood 1-1 1-1

Arlington 0-1 0-2

M-P 0-2 0-2

Monroe 0-2 0-2

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