With his team down 32-27 late in the fourth quarter against Glacier Peak, Mountlake Terrace’s Riley Morrin was having no part of instructions given to him by a game official as the junior was lining up to receive a punt from the Grizzlies.
“The ref actually told me, he said, ‘Wave your hand up like (this) when you fair catch, really high,’” Morrin said. “I said, ‘I’m not doing that. I have to return this.’ That was my mental outlook.”
After letting a booming punt bounce twice deep in Hawk territory, Morrin grabbed the ball, followed blockers across the field to the left sideline, turned up field and returned the punt 89 yards for a touchdown with 2:21 left in the game. The score gave Mountlake Terrace its first lead of the night, 33-32, and would ultimately be the final tally in an exciting Wesco 3A South matchup Friday at Edmonds Stadium.
The win propelled Terrace into sole possession of second place in the league with a 4-1 record (5-1 overall) and guaranteed the Hawks a spot in the first round of the state playoffs.
Morrin’s heroics capped off a 22-point rally. After being held scoreless in the first half, the Hawks used every trick they could to reach the end zone in the second half. In addition to the late punt return for a touchdown, Terrace scored on a 52-yard hook-and-ladder pass completion and an inside reverse that went for a 56-yard TD run.
Hawk head coach Tony Umayam liked the persistence he saw in his team Friday night.
“It was great that we kept fighting because we definitely didn’t start out how we would have wanted to,” Umayam said. “One of the characteristics about this team that we’re finding out more and more as the wins go on is that this team won’t let up.”
After trailing 22-0 at halftime, the Hawks scored two touchdowns in the first 1:37 of the third quarter. The first score came via a 32-yard run by Malcolm Johnson and was set-up by a 48-yard run by Ryan Lacasse on the first play from scrimmage of the second half. After Glacier Peak failed to gain a first down and was forced to punt, Terrace took just two plays to reach paydirt. On an inside reverse that started with quarterback Justin Lacasse handing off to brother Josh Hopkins, Lacasse ended up with the football and finished off a 53-yard touchdown play that brought the Hawks to within eight points of the Grizzlies, 22-14.
“We had to make a few adjustments for the second half and were able to get two quick scores in the second half, which really put us back in the game,” Umayam said.
Glacier Peak dominated in the first half, keeping possession of the ball for 16 of the half’s 24 minutes and scoring three touchdowns, two on passes of 16 and 29 yards by senior Brady Southard and one on a 4-yard run by junior Devin Woellhof. Terrace gained just 64 yards of total offense, just two first downs and had four fumbles in the first half.
Umayam used the halftime break to re-focus his squad using the same message he had used in the Hawks’ opening game of the season at Mariner, a game that they also trailed at the half.
“Let’s go out and focus on winning the second half,” he told the team. “If we do that and put ourselves in a position, than maybe we’ll have a chance later in the game.”
The Grizzlies picked up a touchdown on a 21-yard Iain Black run and a Spencer Pettit 47-yard field goal in the third quarter, but earned only two more first downs on their final four possessions of the game, giving the Hawks the chance to grab the victory.
Down 32-21 with 10:37 to go in the game, Terrace drove the ball 80 yards in 13 plays, capping the drive with a 4-yard Lacasse run. Following a failed onside kick attempt, the Hawk defense forced a quick three-and-out by the Grizzlies offense, leading to the Morrin TD punt return.
But with a one-point lead and 2:21 left in the game, the Terrace defense still had to make two more stops to secure the victory – and got them both by intercepting Glacier Peak pass attempts.
The first interception came with 1:58 left as a Southard pass attempt was tipped and picked off at the Grizzlies 38-yard line.
The Hawk offense had possession just one play as they fumbled for the fifth time, giving the ball back to the Grizzlies. Three plays later Hawk senior Gabe Brady settled the matter with an interception of a Southard pass attempt with 1:04 left and Terrace secured the victory.
“Gabe has done a nice job as a linebacker dropping into coverage,” Umayam said.
The senior converted to the linebacker position this year after playing in the defensive secondary for Terrace the past couple of seasons.
Now with an unprecedented four-game-winning streak and a secured postseason berth, the Hawks have their sights for the year set higher. The most wins in a season for a Mountlake Terrace football team is seven; this year’s squad has five, with at least four more games ahead of them.
“The players have been talking about making history,” Umayam said.
Mountlake Terrace football vs. Glacier Peak
Glacier Peak 15 7 10 0 — 32
Mountlake Terrace 0 0 21 12 — 33
8:52 Brady Southard (GPHS) 16-yard TD pass to Justin Guffey; two-point conversion run good
3:35 Brady Southard (GPHS) 29-yard TD pass to unknown player; PAT kick good
1:05 Devin Woellhof (GPHS) 4-yard TD run; PAT kick good
11:18 Malcolm Johnson (MTHS) 32-yard TD run; PAT kick good
10:23 Justin Hopkins (MTHS) 52-yard TD pass to Josh Hopkins, who laterals to Ryan Lacasse; PAT kick good
7:28 Spencer Pettit (GPHS) 47-yard field goal
5:22 Iain Black (GPHS) 21-yard TD run; PAT kick good
1:27 Colin Rucker (MTHS) 56-yard TD run; PAT kick good
3:44 Ryan Lacasse (MTHS) 4-yard TD run; two-point conversion run no good
2:21 Riley Morrin (MTHS) 89-yard punt return for TD; two-point conversion run no good
Records: Mountlake Terrace 4-1 in Wesco, 5-1 overall; Glacier Peak 2-2, 3-3
MTHS next game: vs. Lynnwood, Friday, Oct. 17, 5 p.m. at Edmonds Stadium