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Both Oak Harbor youth football teams fall in finals
They were two games of contrasting styles, but the results were the same — loses for the Oak Harbor teams — in the North Cascade Youth Football League Mountain Division championships Sunday, Nov. 15, at windy Mount Vernon High School.
The Oak Harbor Bobcats lost to Arlington 48-14 in the pee wee division (5-8 year olds), and the Oak Harbor Cougars lost a heart-breaker 14-13 to Sedro-Woolley in the midget division (9-10 year olds).
In the Bobcats’ lopsided loss, the Oak Harbor team trailed by just seven, 21-14, at halftime, but Arlington ran away with the game in the second half.
Arlington burned the Bobcats with big plays. On its first play of the game, after Oak Harbor went four-and-out, the Eagles ripped off a 52-yard scoring play to take a lead they would never relinquish.
Oak Harbor quickly countered when quarterback Dorian Hardin broke a tackle and sprinted 49 yards for a touchdown. The point after run failed and Oak Harbor trailed 7-6.
Arlington returned the kickoff to the 15 and soon scored again. On its next possession, it tacked on another TD on a fourth-and-five play and led 21-6.
With just 47 seconds left in the half, Hardin ran in from the six and Dalan Hubbard kicked the PAT (kicks are good for two points and runs only one in youth football), and the Bobcats were within striking distance, 21-14.
Arlington’s second-half scoring runs of 29, 42, 46 and 50 yards sealed the game for the Eagles.
Bobcat coach Tony Maggio said, “I am so proud of my boys. We field a team with a 5-year-old, multiple 6-year-olds, some 7’s and only six or seven 8-year-olds, only one who turned 9. We played a team full of 8-9 year-olds with only one 6-year-old and a small handful of 7-year-olds, and scared them until half being down 20-14. We were always smaller than our opponents, not having one kid over 100 pounds, and about 10 kids weighing under 60 pounds, but they played as hard as they could and left it all on the field.”
He added, “We feel like champions today.”
Maggio praised his players’ parents for being supportive regardless of the outcome.
After the game some of the younger players asked Maggio if they had won or lost. Maggio, in the true spirit of youth sports, said, “We definitely won for Oak Harbor today.”
While the pee wee game featured offensive fireworks, the midget contest was a battle of defenses and big fourth-down plays.
Sedro-Woolley, trailing 13-8, scored with exactly one minute left in the game to pull out the 14-13 win.
The game may have been decided in the first quarter when Oak Harbor failed to score after starting drives at the Sedro-Woolley 29 and 35.
The Cougars pinned the Cubs back twice and forced short punts into a strong wind, but the S-W defense was just as stout and kept Oak Harbor out of the end zone.
Early in the second quarter, Oak Harbor’s Princeton Everett stuffed the Woolley quarterback on fourth-and-less than one at the Cubs’ 31. The Cougars took over and scored moments later on a Mac Carr run. The PAT was good.
Sedro-Woolley twice converted on fourth down plays, the second at the Oak Harbor 13, to score with 1:08 left in the half. The kick for the PAT was good, and the Cubs led 8-7.
Oak Harbor regained the lead with 2:15 left in the third quarter when it converted on its own fourth down play. Everett bulled in from the seven, but the PAT failed.
Penalties then played a big role for both teams.
The Cubs ran to the Oak Harbor 11 on the first play after the Cougar score, but the play was nullified with a penalty. The Cubs went back to midfield, but they battled their way to the 6 where Oak Harbor held on downs.
Oak Harbor was then stung with a holding call. The Cougars raced to the five, but the big play was called back.
The Cubs eventually held at the 36, took over, and began their game-winning drive.
After the last-minute score by Sedro-Woolley, Oak Harbor returned the kickoff to the Cubs’ 49 but could not muster a first down. On second and third downs, Oak Harbor was hurt by mishandled exchanges.