Glacier Peak edges Meadowdale to earn WesCo 3A title game berth
The Mavericks mounted a valiant comeback, but couldn’t complete the rally as the Grizzlies earned a rematch with Marysville-Pilchuck in the WesCo championship.
Special to The Seattle Times
SNOHOMISH – With a title on the line, the Meadowdale Mavericks weren’t going to go softly into the north Sound night.
The Mavericks made their play against the defending Wesco 3A South champs from Glacier Peak at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium on Friday. The Grizzlies had enough to stave off the upset bid, however, and retain their division title with a 20-17 victory.
“That was a fun football game,” Glacier Peak coach Rory Rosenbach said. “Obviously a little closer than we’d like. But fun for the fans.”
With the win, Glacier Peak earns the chance to play unbeaten Marysville-Pilchuck (8-0 overall, 4-0 Wesco North), which beat Oak Harbor 39-21 on Friday to repeat as North Division champs, next Friday in Snohomish for the Wesco title and the conference’s No. 1 seed in the District round of the state playoffs.
The Tomahawks beat Glacier Peak in Marysville a year ago for the league title.
“This feels great,” Grizzlies senior running back Josh Pinca said. “But now we’ve gotta focus on next week for the real championship.”
Friday provided a game that saw No. 6 Glacier Peak (7-1, 4-0 Wesco South) dominate the ball offensively, yet trail at the half. Meadowdale (5-3, 3-1) stayed in it and, with less than a minute to go, had a chance to try an onside kick for a potential game-tying or winning drive, thanks to a couple of big plays.
The first came with 4:30 left in the first half.
Glacier Peak, which outgained the Mavericks 154-79 in the half, faced a fourth-and-seven from its own 29-yard line. Instead of a punt, though, the Grizzlies tried a fake.
The ball was snapped short, taken by an up man in the formation, and then fumbled into the air at the 25. Marzel Simmons was waiting there for Meadowdale.
Simmons grabbed the ball out of the air and raced untouched into the end zone for a Mavericks touchdown and a 7-3 lead.
“Defensively, we were lights out,” Rosenbach said. “That fake punt is on us.”
The Meadowdale advantage would hold up well into the third quarter. The Mavericks put their only sustained drive together to open the second half, moving from their own 20 to the Glacier Peak 19.
But when the drive stalled, Meadowdale was forced to try a 33-yard field goal. Brett Schafer’s kick had plenty of leg, but sailed wide.
The Grizzlies failed to move the ball and were subsequently forced to punt. But two plays later, Meadowdale running back Malik Braxton fumbled.
Brandon Jensen recovered at the Mavericks 38, and six plays after that, Matthew Darling finally found the end zone for Glacier Peak on a 3-yard run to give the Grizzlies a 10-7 lead.
Darling’s second TD, this one from 4 yards away, extended the advantage to 17-7. It was 20-10 with 1:35 left when Meadowdale made it interesting again.
In desperation mode, Jeremiah Evans dropped back and hit Charlie White breaking open crossing the field. White turned up the right sideline and raced 73 yards to make it 20-17 with 58 seconds left.
“We had stinking two guys run into each other (on that play),” Rosenbach said.
That gave Schafer a chance to try the onside kick. But his effort was punched too hard, and the ball sailed out of bounds, allowing Glacier Peak to run out the final seconds and move into the Wesco title game.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to play for the Wesco championship,” Rosenbach said. “And we get to do it at our house this time.”