Sports

Wildcats upset Snohomish 34-14

Oak Harbor 34, Snohomish 14. Who would have thunk it?

The beauty of athletics is that it is more improv than formula story. Oak Harbor’s win did not follow the expected plot line. Going in, it appeared this was going to be a tragedy, with the Wildcats dying a heroic death in the end. However, this story had a plot twist that O. Henry would have been proud of.

Check out the pregame notes: Oak Harbor was 1-3 and coming off a mistake-filled loss. Two starting interior offensive lineman (Terry Rawls and Curtis Ducken) were out and the Wildcats were facing a highly touted defensive front. Oak Harbor was also missing running back/linebacker Patrick Higbee and tightend/defensive end Aaron Boesch. In the first four games Oak Harbor’s offense had been sporadic and turnovers were plentiful.

Snohomish was 3-1, with its only loss to state-ranked and defending champion Marysville-Pilchuck. The Panthers had beaten Monroe 27-11, a team that dumped Oak Harbor earlier this year. The tradition-rich Panthers, one of the most successful programs in state history, were averaging 30 points a game, playing at home, and celebrating homecoming.

One would think the Panthers to be the confident ones, but with each mistake their stage fright became more intense. Oak Harbor, which had its own miscues, just played on.

The game started as one might expect the script to go. Oak Harbor went backward on its first possession. Snohomish easily marched into Wildcat territory, but committed its first mistake, a missed field goal.

The Wildcats only positive yards on the next possession came via a penalty, and they punted again. Snohomish ripped off a 50-yard run. The Wildcats appeared to recover a fumble, but the officials ruled the runner down. Shortly after Snohomish was on the board.

From that point on, the plot turned and it was all Oak Harbor as the Wildcats jumped all over Panther mistakes. A Snohomish receiver dropped a pass that looked like a sure 85-yard TD. On the next play, a punt attempt, the snap was low and the punter touched his knee to the ground. Oak Harbor took over at the 5.

Luke Felkner, back after missing the past seven quarters with a concussion, hit Mike Washington Jr. with a TD pass. The PAT kick was blocked and OHHS trailed 7-6.

An errant pitch cost Snohomish valuable yards and they were forced to punt.

Felkner’s next pass bounced off the hands of two Panther defenders and into the hands of Oak Harbor’s Josh Higbee. He ran untouched to the end zone for a 62-yard gift, and Oak Harbor was up 12-7 and never trailed again.

Snohomish fumbled. Oak Harbor recovered and Felkner hit Donovan Hunt for 19 yards, then Washington for four and another TD. Josh Higbee ran in the PAT: Oak Harbor 20-7 at the half.

In Oak Harbor’s second possession of the second half, Hunt ripped off a 27-yard run, then Felkner hit Brad Farnum for passes of 16 and 15 yards. On third and 13, Snohomish was flagged for pass interference in the end zone to help keep the drive alive. Felkner hit Josh Higbee down the line of scrimmage and Higbee slashed in from seven yards out. Ryan Fakkema kicked the extra point: Oak Harbor 27-7.

Josh Higbee intercepted Panther QB Luke Perry’s throw on the first play of their possession. Felkner then hit Farnum with a 42-yard strike on Oak Harbor’s first play, but the TD was erased by a holding call. Not deterred, Felkner completed four straight passes, then hit Josh Higbee, who made a diving catch in the corner of the end zone from seven yards out, to put the Wildcats up 33-7. Fakkema booted the final point with 10:04 left in the game.

Snohomish scored against the Oak Harbor reserves to complete the scoring.

Oak Harbor coach Jay Turner said, “We knew if we gave Felkner enough time we could attack their DB’s.” With Rawls and Ducken out, Turner wasn’t sure if they could hold back the Panthers. They did and Felkner threw five touchdown passes.

Turner added, “I’m really happy on how the kids competed. They didn’t buckle under pressure.”

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