Oak Harbor's three-pronged rushing attack filleted another opponent, this time slicing Stanwood 42-3 Friday, Oct. 4, at Wildcat Memorial Stadium.
The trio of Sheyenne Sams, Julian Faralan and Dejon Devroe continued its assault on the stat sheet and Wildcat foes by combining for 471 yards on 42 carries (an 11.2 average per tote) in the trampling of the Spartans.
In all, Oak Harbor racked up 503 yards on the ground on 47 carries. The only thing that slowed the Wildcat rush was losing four fumbles.
The running backs’ success was helped by the offensive line (Tyler Adamson, Jackson Constant, Matt Zafra, Mark Johnston and Blaine Coleman), which “played really well,” according to coach Jay Turner.
The win put the ‘Cats in prime position to grab one of the two automatic playoffs slots allotted to the Wesco 3A North. Oak Harbor is 2-0 (4-1 overall) in league with two games left.
A victory over Marysville Getchell in the next Wesco game Oct. 18 – Homecoming for the Wildcats – will lock up the playoff berth.
Next Friday Oak Harbor plays its final nonleague game when it hosts Mount Vernon in an intriguing matchup. The Bulldogs, like Oak Harbor, are 4-1 and are coming off a comeback win over the team that handed the Wildcats their only loss, Lake Stevens.
Mount Vernon, led by former Coupeville coach Jay Silver, features a stingy defense paced by an outstanding line backing corps. The Bulldogs allow only 11 points a game and should challenge Oak Harbor’s ground game, which has helped the ‘Cats put up 36 points per game.
In the win over Stanwood, it was Sams' turn to lead the way. The senior ran for 207 yards on 15 carries; he also had runs of 60 and 20 yards erased by penalties. The highlights of his night were a pair of 59-yard runs.
Faralan scored three touchdowns and finished with 166 yards on 17 carries, including an 80-yard TD strike. Devroe had a 55-yard run on the way to 98 total yards on 10 carries.
The two teams opened the game with similar drives.
On Stanwood’s first play, quarterback Drew Wright threw down the line to Laurence Wanambisi, who slipped one tackle and raced 59 yards to the Oak Harbor 13. On fourth and two from the 5, Stanwood elected to kick a 22-yard field goal and led 3-0.
On Oak Harbor’s second play, Devroe zipped 55 yards to the Spartan 11. When Oak Harbor faced its own fourth-and-two, it went for it and Faralan scored. Johnston kicked the extra point.
Two fumbles stopped promising Oak Harbor drives, then the Wildcats recovered a Spartan fumble at the Stanwood 35 midway through the second quarter. On third-and-goal from the 12, Sams shed several tackles on a spectacular run to give Oak Harbor a 14-3 lead with Johnston’s kick.
A series early in the third quarter proved to be the game’s most important.
Stanwood, still in the game down 14-3, took over on the Oak Harbor 30 after a snap flew over the Wildcat punter’s head.
The Spartans stalled out at the 11 and its field goal slid wide left. If the miss didn’t deflate Stanwood, the next play did. Faralan bolted 80 yards for a touchdown. Alex Waner, subbing for Johnston who turned his ankle, kicked the first of four PATs.
From that moment, it was all Oak Harbor. In regard to the Wildcat surge, Turner said, “We wore them down.”
After the missed field goal, the Oak Harbor first-team offense ran 12 more plays for 272 yards, averaging more than 22 yards per play, and scored three touchdowns.
Faralan scored on a 6-yard run with 4:37 left in the third quarter.
Stanwood fumbled on the kick off return. Oak Harbor quarterback Clay Doughty, who completed his first and last passes on six attempts, lobbed a bomb to Devroe for a 41-yard score.
With 5:15 left in the game, Faralan finished the scoring with a 3-yard run set up by Sams’ 59-yard romp.
The Oak Harbor running game wasn’t the only Wildcat highlight. Oak Harbor’s defense was as dominant. It recorded five sacks and limited Stanwood to only 237 yards.
Wright finished 15-for-24 for 128 yards. Eighty-seven of the yards came on two plays, and five of the completions resulted in negative yards.
Turner said the defensive front of Johnston, Adamson, Rhys Mattila and Constant put in another solid game to lead the attack.
Oak Harbor’s defense, Turner said, was able to slow Stanwood’s tempo. With the line harassing Wright, the Wildcats were able to “gamble a little bit,” according to Turner, which further stymied the Spartans.