Big plays can't overcome big mistakes: Wildcats fall 47-39

Big plays and big mistakes.

That’s what defined Stanwood’s 47-39 win over Oak Harbor’s football team Friday night at Wildcat Memorial Stadium.

Oak Harbor overcame a 28-10 halftime deficit only to see the Spartans score two touchdowns in a span of 65 seconds in the last two minutes of the game to recover and claim the win.

The big plays: Oak Harbor had seven of over 30 yards, including receptions of 71 and 61 yards. Six other plays covered between 10 and 29 yards.

Marysville ripped off eight plays longer than 20 yards and had four others between 10 and 19.

The big mistakes: Oak Harbor threw three interceptions: one was returned for a touchdown, one was returned to the 13 to set up Stanwood’s first TD, and another came at the Spartans’ 5-yard line as Oak Harbor was trying to rally in the last minute. Oak Harbor had four snaps go through the quarterback’s hands for a total of 50 (minus) yards.

Stanwood had a fumble that led to Oak Harbor’s go ahead touchdown early in the fourth quarter. The Spartans also had six devastating major penalties that either thwarted a promising drive or kept Oak Harbor’s alive.

The action started early. Oak Harbor scored on its third play of the game. Quarterback Luke Felkner hit Mike Washington Jr. on a bubble screen, then the sophomore receiver split the defense and raced 71 yards for the score. Ryan Fakkema kicked the point after. Oak Harbor, 7-0.

On the Wildcats’ next possession, an interception of Felkner was returned to the 13. Five plays later it was 7-7.

After holding Oak Harbor and getting the ball back, a block in the back penalty after an apparent first down forced Stanwood to punt. Moments later a Felkner to Josh Higbee pass went for 39 yards to set up a Fakkema 20-yard field goal. Oak Harbor, 10-7.

Four plays later, including passes of 24 and 27 yards, Stanwood was ahead 14-10.

A fumbled snap helped stall an Oak Harbor drive. After receiving the punt, it took Stanwood just three plays to score again. Stanwood, 21-10.

It was three and out for Oak Harbor. Aided by a 30-yard play, Stanwood threatened again. The Spartans converted on a fourth-and-two from the three and scored on the next play. Stanwood 28-10 at the half.

At the start of the second half, Felkner hit four passes in a span of six plays to put Oak Harbor in business. A pass interference call then put the ball at the 7. Felkner hit Donovan Hunt from there for the touchdown. Fakkema kicked the extra point. Stanwood, 28-17.

Stanwood was three-and-out. Felkner hooked up with Higbee for a 61-yard gain, then hit him for another 11 at the Spartan 2. Hunt ran it in for the TD, and Felkner passed to Higbee for a 2-point conversion. Stanwood, 28-25.

Just as the fourth quarter began, the Spartans coughed up a fumble and received a personal foul call on the same play. That gave Oak Harbor the ball at the Stanwood 29. On third-and-11, Felkner scrambled out of the pocket, and, as he was about to go down, fired a laser to Hunt, who caught the ball at the 5 and carried three defenders into the end zone. Fakkema’s kick was good. Oak Harbor, 32-28.

Thirty seconds later, after just two plays (28 and 40 yards), Stanwood was back ahead, 35-32.

Hunt ran for 19 yards, Felkner connected with Higbee for 34 more, then a late-hit penalty on third-and-10 put the ball on the 8. On third-and-one, Felkner flipped a TD to Washington and Fakkema tacked on the PAT with 6:11 left in the game. Oak Harbor, 39-35.

The Spartans overcame a second-and-21 (an illegal block set them back) with plays of 24 and 34 yards to get the ball to the Wildcat 25. From there they ground out the yards and ground down the clock -- scoring with 2:50 left. The two-point conversion attempt was intercepted. Stanwood, 41-39.

After the kick off, Oak Harbor started at its own 29. On first down, the snap slipped through Felkner’s hands and he recovered it after a 19-yard loss. On the next play, trying to avoid a sack at the goal line, he tossed the ball underhand. It was snagged by a Spartan defender who stepped into the end zone. The Stanwood kicker thumped the PAT off the cross bar and Oak Harbor still had hope. Stanwood, 47-39.

Hunt returned to kick off 36 yards to the 48. Felkner hit Hunt for a 23-yard gain, but on the next play, slipped in the backfield for a eight-yard loss. On third-and-18, he was intercepted at the 5 with 54.6 seconds left.

Oak Harbor used all three timeouts and forced Stanwood to punt. Starting at the Stanwood 42-yard line with 17.7 seconds left, Felkner tossed to Hunt for 32 yards to the 10 for the last big play. On the next play Felkner was sacked and the clock ran out for the last big mistake.

Felkner finished the game 23-33 for 370 yards and four touchdowns and three interceptions. Hunt caught eight of those passes for 105 yards and two TDs. Higbee snared six for 150, and Washington five for 82 and two touchdowns.

Oak Harbor struggled to stop Stanwood’s running game in the first half, so it began putting more defenders near the line of scrimmage. The problem with that, coach Jay Turner said, “Is they can throw it pretty well, too. When we put the extra guy in the box, they would throw deep.”

Spartan quarterback Mike McClune was 10-13 for 209 yards and two touchdowns.

Both schools are now 2-4 for the year.

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