Wilcats win season opener

Like any smart team, the Oak Harbor Wildcats proved Friday night they are capable of learning from mistakes.

A year after giving up several big runs and missing two extra points in a one-point, season-opening loss to Sehome, the Wildcats completely turned things around against the same opponent in the 2005 opener.

This time Oak Harbor’s defense held Sehome’s leading rusher T.J. Swedilus to minimal yards and new kicker Keith Lokkins was a perfect 4-for-4 on extra points, en route to a 28-12 victory at Memorial Field.

“The guys came out and played really hard,” OHHS head coach Dave Ward said.

Sehome took the initial lead, 6-0, on a first-quarter touchdown pass from Kai Hatch to Trent Leach.

The lead was short-lived, however, as the Wildcats tightened the defense up the remainder of the game, especially in shutting down Swedilus.

“He was a big strong kid — we had to gang tackle him and the guys rallied to him,” Ward said. “Containing him was really key I think.”

After giving up the early touchdown and then blocking the extra point, Oak Harbor came alive on offense for three first-half touchdowns.

The first two scores came from senior running back Gabe Vest, who broke into the end zone on runs of 19 and three yards.

The Wildcats tacked on one more touchdown with 2:34 remaining in the first half when junior quarterback Marshall Lobbestael connected with wide receiver Cameron Kays for a 17-yard strike and a 21-6 halftime lead.

“Marshall was on,” Ward said. “He threw some really nice balls.”

The second half was much of the same.

Sehome scored one more touchdown with the combination of Hatch to Leach, but Oak Harbor’s defense remained solid.

Vest, who rushed 10 times for 87 yards, scored one more touchdown, breaking loose from five yards out on a fourth and goal.

Lobbestael ended the day 17 of 25 on his passes for 187 yards and the one touchdown.

Not to go unnoticed was the performance of the new kicker, Lokkins. He was perfect on extra point attempts and kept the ball deep on kickoffs with two touchbacks.

“We’re real pleased with Lokkins,” Ward said.

Senior linebacker Blake Bebee led the team in tackles with nine, two of which were sacks.

Cameron Kays added seven tackles and an interception; Brendan Kays had eight tackles and three deflected passes and Sean O’Brien had six tackles, two of which were for a loss.

Oak Harbor will enter Western Conference North play at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 9 at home against Cascade.

The Wildcats initially lost to the Bruins last season on a last-second touchdown, but the win was eventually handed over to the Wildcats after it was found the Bruins used an ineligible player.

Ward expects this year’s Cascade team to provide a tough challenge — especially with its running game.

“They’ve got a couple of big strong running backs and they’ll have a little bit more speed than Sehome,” he said.

The Bruins are 1-0 in league after defeating Marysville-Pilchuck 14-12 to start the season.

Friday’s game can be heard locally on KWDB 1110 AM.

Scoring— (S) Leach 11 yard pass from Hatch (kick blocked). (OH) Vest 19 yard run (Lokkins kick). Vest 3 yard run (Lokkins kick). (OH) C. Kays 17 yard pass from Lobbestael (Lokkins kick). (S) Leach 6 yard pass from Hatch (run failed). Vest 5 yard run (Lokkins kick).

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