Wildcats tackle panthers

Snohomish is the place to be Friday night when the Oak Harbor Wildcats take on the Panthers in a battle of the unbeatens in Wesco North 4A football competition.

Snohomish has one non-league blemish on its record, but both the Panthers and Wildcats are 3-0 in the all-important league standings. Oak Harbor is a perfect 4-0 overall, the first time they’ve achieved that record in years.

“Some people say it’s been 20 years,” said Oak Harbor head coach Dave Ward on Tuesday. The historical records are a bit musty on the matter, but Ward knows it hasn’t happened in his 12 years as head coach. The last 4-0 team would have been under legendary coach Duck Dougherty.

Athletic Director Jeff Stone has followed the team for 28 years and he can’t recall a better start for Oak Harbor. In 1999 the team went 7-2 but didn’t start out 4-0.

Last Friday, both teams pitched shutouts at their opponents. Oak Harbor blanked Marysville-Pilchuck 26-0 while Snohomish plowed under Monroe 40-0.

At Snohomish, Oak Harbor football fans will find a team that likes to run the ball. Against Monroe, the Panthers rushed for 368 yards in 45 carries.

“Their quarterback can run and they’ve got real good running backs with speed,” said coach Ward.

It’s a sure bet that Oak Harbor’s defenders are practicing their tackling this week.

The Wildcats have exhibited outstanding passing and running in their four games this year. In Friday’s contest they produced 381 yards in total offense with 223 coming through the air.

“We moved up and down the field,” Ward said. The score was 26-0 at the half and stayed there. The Tomahawks intercepted three passes to stem the offensive onslaught, and steady rain kept the going wet and muddy. On several occasions penalties cut Oak Harbor drives short.

Oak Harbor started the scoring with a 12-yard pass from senior quarterback Lenny Serfling to junior tight end John Lobbestael. The kick by Chad Asmus made it 7-0.

The Wildcats scored three times in the second period to ice the game. Serfling threw seven yards to Kyle Veach to make it 13-0. The kick missed.

Next, junior running back Adam Diaz scampered in from 15-yards out, making it 20-0. A pass for two points fell uncaught.

Before halftime, senior wide receiver Grant Bull brought the crowd to its feet with a punt return that went for 65-yards and a touchdown. The kick by Asmus brought the halftime — and final — score to 26-0.

Oak Harbor’s defense was led by Cody Parker who recorded 13 unassisted tackles from his outside linebacker position, and noseguard Chad Asmus who terrorized the Tomahawk quarterback, sacking him three times and causing a fumble that resulted in a Wildcat score.

Stone, the athletic director, said the Wildcats have a long history with Snohomish. The last time Oak Harbor finished on top of the league was in 1982 when they shared first place with Snohomish. “That was with Duck (Dougherty) and was the last time we were league champs,” he said.

Stone is hoping football fever starts spreading around the high school, and that the old high school tradition of sending a rooters’ bus to away games will be rekindled.

“I can’t remember the last we had a rooters’ bus for a league game,” Stone said.

Coach Ward said a number of Oak Harbor fans are following the Wildcats on the road, and he expects a good contingent of them in the stands at Snohomish.

“We’ve got a fun team to watch and they like to be at the games,” he said.

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