Edmonds-Woodway battles past Cascade to stay unbeaten
The Warriors won the clash of undefeated teams 28-14 thanks to the steady play of Junior Opuku-Mensah.
Special to The Seattle Times
EDMONDS — Junior Opoku-Mensah had a laundry list of ailments, but he was healthy enough to push Edmonds-Woodway past Cascade in a battle of unbeaten football teams on Friday night.
Opoku-Mensah carried 31 times for 150 yards and a touchdown to carry the Warriors to a 28-14 victory and a 2-0 record in the WesCo 4A South Conference and a 5-0 mark overall.
Cascade, which had two key turnovers and gave up six sacks, fell to 1-1 in the WesCo South and 4-1 overall.
“My throat is sore, my elbow hurts, my groin is pulled and I’m kind of winded,” Opoku-Mensah said after the win at Edmonds Stadium. “I’m just banged up and tried my best. My offensive line kept me going and just told me to keep pushing.”
Opoku-Mensah, a 5-foot-9 senior who came into the game averaging 191 yards, didn’t have a run longer than 12 yards. That didn’t stop E-W coach John Gradwohl from continuing to call his number.
“Junior has never had a bad game, but this wasn’t really one of his better ones,” Gradwohl said. “He was fighting off illness and injury and didn’t see the field as well as he normally does. His ran hard and his effort was awesome, but he just wasn’t flowing like he usually does.”
Joe Cronin, who is in his second year as Cascade’s coach, has rapidly turned the Bruins into winners behind star quarterback Josh Smith.
“You could tell a team like Edmonds-Woodway had been in a situation like this before, and this was our first situation in an atmosphere like that,” Cronin said. “We tried to fight back, but just made too many mistakes.”
Smith passed for 153 yards and a touchdown, but was sacked six times, was intercepted once and lost one fumble.
“He (Smith) is a real handful,” Gradwohl said. “He’s really tough on the run and threw some great balls, but our defense got the key sacks when we needed them.”
Edmonds-Woodway also got two touchdowns from Mac McLachlan, who gained 46 yards on 10 carries.
“A lot of us didn’t feel that good this week, but we worked hard,” Opoku-Mensah said. “We gave it all we had and the best team won tonight. Every week we continue to get better. This is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Edmonds-Woodway built a 21-14 lead at halftime, with Cascade fortunate to only trail by a touchdown.
Cascade took advantage of two long Smith passes to stay close. The first was a 41-yarder to Kaleb Dobson that resulted in a in a 1-yard TD run by Smith. The second was a 35-yard strike from Smith to Dobson that tied the score at 14 2:28 before halftime.
Both of McLachlan’s scores came in the first half — the first on a 2-yard run and the second on a 12-yard pass from Davis Giles that came with 10 seconds left in the half.
Edmonds-Woodway padded its lead by a touchdown four plays after the second half kickoff.
The key play was a 50-yard pass play from Giles to Theo Lebesis that set up a 1-yard score by Opoku-Mensah.
Cascade moved all the way to the E-W 8 on its first drive of the second half, but turned the ball over on downs.