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'Cats mount impressive drive but fall short | Football
A missed extra-point kick by Oak Harbor with 3:33 left in the game will be the topic of discussion of Monday morning quarterbacks after the Wildcats' 14-13 loss at Lake Stevens Friday, Sept. 20. It shouldn't be.
What should be discussed is the impressive drive that led up to that point. Down 14-7 with 1:23 remaining in the third quarter and starting at its own 6-yard line, Oak Harbor went on a 20-play march that ate up 94 yards and almost 10 minutes. The Wildcats faced fourth-down plays on every new set of downs and converted all five on the way to the end zone.
The final play of the drive, fourth and goal from the nine, was the only pass as QB Clay Doughty linked up with Dyllan Harris on a short toss. Harris slipped several tackles over the final five yards to make it 14-13.
The point after, unfortunately, was just wide right.
Oak Harbor had one more shot, holding Lake Stevens to three-and-out, and got the ball back on its own 45 with 2:23 left. No fourth down magic this time, and the Vikings held on.
The Wildcats came into the game with two nonleague wins over 4A schools and knew Lake Stevens would be its toughest test so far even though the Vikings had dropped their first two games.
The Vikings were preseason favorites to win the Wesco 4A North and started the season against the area's two top teams, Marysville-Pilchuck and Glacier Peak, and lost both in completive games. M-P and Peak are both ranked in the top 10 in several state polls.
Oak Harbor won the statistical battle; Lake Stevens won the scoring war.
The Wildcats ran 70 plays, the Vikings only 39 -- the number Oak Harbor ran in the second half alone.
Oak Harbor out-gained Lake Stevens 338-235 and controlled the ball 33 minutes to Lake's 15.
The game's first score came off a mistake. On Oak Harbor's second possession, a tipped pass was intercepted.
Lake Stevens took over on the Oak Harbor 46. There have been concerns in Lake Stevens this season about the throwing accuracy of Viking quarterback sophomore Jacob Eason. Regardless, there is no debate about his arm strength, which matches his 6-4, 205 pound physique.
On the first play after the interception, he threw the ball on the fly to the end zone for a touchdown with 4:07 remaining in the first quarter. The receiver, Gavin O'Neil, was the Vikings' starting quarterback last fall.
Oak Harbor has been burned on several long passes this season. Coach Jay Turner said his defensive backs are young, adding, "They fly around like crazy, but sometimes they make mistakes." A bad read led to this breakdown, he said.
Both teams spent most of the first half punting, but Lake Stevens scored again deep in the second quarter. Eason, whose only completion in his first seven passes was the touchdown, reeled off seven straight, including five in this drive.
The Vikings went 90 yards in only 45 seconds, thanks to three timeouts and completions of 44, 15 and 26 yards. Eason hit Gavin on a 2-yarder for the score with 38 seconds left in the half.
The Wildcats made some adjustments at halftime.
Turner said, "Our goal in the second half was to be more physical."
The halftime discussion in the locker room on the lack of "physicality" was, most likely, very one sided. The results were immediate.
Receiving the ball to start the third quarter, Oak Harbor went on a 17-play, 53-yard drive that took over six minutes. Unfortunately, it ended on downs at the Viking 10.
Fortune, however, turned Oak Harbor's way moments later. Lake Stevens' running back Austin Otis fumbled and Wildcat Sheyenne Sams plucked the ball out of the air and scooted 35 yards for the score. Mark Johnston kicked the PAT.
After a Lake Stevens punt, Oak Harbor began its impressive drive. In its first series of downs, Oak Harbor faced a fourth-and-two at its own 15. Turner, in a gutsy call, went for it. Fullback Jordan Faralan plowed into the line then somehow escaped the pile and raced 35 yards.
From there, Oak Harbor continued to pound away until it reached the end zone.
The Wildcats produced a good push up front throughout the drive even though both their starting right guard and right tackle left the game with injuries. Johnston and Ford Orns filled in and the 'Cat ground game didn't miss a beat.
Faralan finished with 132 yards on 27 carries. Sams added 128 on 20, including an incredible 43-yard gain in which he left a trail of would-be tacklers.
Doughty went 3-for-7 for 20 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Otis and Eason were the only Vikings to carry the ball, and Otis covered 80 yards in 18 totes. Eason completed 10 of 17 throws for 174 yards.
Oak Harbor begins conference play at Everett (0-3) at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27.