Cats rush to victory

MARYSVILLE—Down 14-13 to Marysville-Pilchuck on the road at halftime, the Oak Harbor football team could have panicked.

The only other time they trailed at the half this season occurred during their lone loss to Lake Stevens. Instead of panicking they did the exact opposite in the second half, showing complete dominance over the Tomahawks on both sides of the ball en route to a 33-14 victory.

“At halftime we had a lot to think about,” senior Nate Metcalf said. “We planned out, we came out and we played hard.”

Senior fullback Blake Ward provided the offensive spark Oak Harbor needed on their first drive of the second half. Ward, who had already rushed for two touchdowns of 16 and 7-yards in the second quarter, picked up his third TD of the game as he busted through the right side of the line for a 17-yard score with 3:24 left in the third. The touchdown provided Oak Harbor their first lead of the game, 19-14.

On a night where he rushed for 122 yards on 21 carries and four touchdowns, Ward gave all the credit to the work of the offensive line.

“Offensively, our line was stepping it up again,” he said.

Ward tacked on his fourth score with 6:51 to go in the game, powering the ball across the goal line from 1-yard out. The P.A.T. by junior Cash Parker gave the Cats a 26-14 advantage.

Minutes later the Wildcats put the game away for good. After bobbling the kickoff deep in their own territory, the Tomahawks were forced to start their drive from their 9-yard line. Attempting to run an end-around reverse from deep in their own territory, Marysville coughed up the hand-off. Senior defensive end Patrick O’Brien scooped up the ball at the 1-yard line and dove into the end zone, putting the game out of reach, 33-14, with 5:17 remaining.

Along with the Oak Harbor offense coming alive, the defense also put up a strong effort, shutting out the Tomahawks in the second half.

“The way our d-line came out and smacked them in the mouth, you don’t see a team turn it around that quick very often,” Metcalf said.

The Cats held the Marysville offense at bay in the second half only allowing 54 yards on the ground.

The secondary also showed signs of improvement, holding the Tomahawks to 2-for-11 passing for 52 yards. Junior cornerback James Blunk came up with a crucial play on the first Marysville drive of the second half, batting away a sure touchdown pass from Damino Stewart to Josh Lemery in the end zone.

“Our corners knew they were going to have to tackle because they were going to run the ball a lot,” head coach Dave Ward said. “They did a good job of that and they had good coverage all night long.”

Oak Harbor dug themselves a hole in the first quarter. On the second play from scrimmage, the Tomahawks’ speedy fullback Ken Kam took the trap play and broke 75-yards for the touchdown.

After tying the game on a Ward touchdown, the Cats quickly found themselves trailing again. A pass attempt by senior quarterback John Lobbesteal from the Oak Harbor 19-yard line sailed through the hands of his receiver and straight into the arms of Kam, who returned it to the Oak Harbor nine. Two plays later Kam rammed the ball in from 1-yard out, giving Marysville a 14-7 advantage at the 6:23 mark of the second quarter.

Oak Harbor responded on a quick drive of their own, going 64 yards on three plays, eventually punching the ball in with Ward from 7-yards out. The Parker P.A.T. sailed wide-left, leaving the Cats with their halftime deficit.

Aside from the four touchdowns of Ward, Metcalf also had a huge game offensively. The tight end finished the game with 76-yards receiving, but also had 72-yards rushing on four end-around reverse plays.

“We usually run it once a game, but it was working so well,” Metcalf said. “The line was picking up their blocks and the guards were pulling around and picking everybody up.”

Senior Kyle Issacson had 53-yards on the ground, helping Oak Harbor to their 271 total yards of team rushing.

The Wildcats no doubt have their largest test of the season at 7 p.m. this Friday, Oct. 10 at home against Snohomish.

“We’ve been looking forward to this since last year,” coach Ward said. “We were disappointed in a close game down there that we felt we should have won and now we get them on our field.”

Now at 4-1 overall and 3-1 in league, the Cats trail Lake Stevens and Snohomish for first place in the WesCo North. Both teams have a 4-1 record, but are 3-0 in league play. With only two teams from the North going to districts this year and having already lost to Lake Stevens, Friday’s game holds extreme importance for Oak Harbor.

“It’s going to determine a lot of what happens in our league and in the post-season,” Ward said.

Although they have played close games over recent years, it’s been since 1996 that Oak Harbor has beaten Snohomish.

All games are broadcast locally on 1110 AM KWDB.

Oak Harbor 33, Marysville 14

Oak Harbor 0 13 6 14—33

Marysville-Pil. 7 7 0 0—14

Marysville-Kam 75-yard run (Stillwell kick good), Oak Harbor-Ward 16-yard run (Parker kick good), Marysville-Kam 1-yard run (Stillwell kick good), Oak Harbor-Ward 7-yard run (kick no good), Oak Harbor-Ward 17-yard run (two point conversion failed), Oak Harbor-Ward 1-yard run (Parker kick good), Oak Harbor--O’Brien 1-yd fumble return (Parker kick good).

Records: Oak Harbor 4-1 overall, 3-1 league; Marysville 1-4 overall, 1-3 in league.

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