With a couple of offensive linemen topping the scale at 300 pounds each, the Everett Seagulls like to use their size and wear down their opposition with a relentless running game. That strategy was in full view Friday at Edmonds Stadium.
The Seagulls gained 256 of their total 320 yards on the ground and ran over the Mountlake Terrace Hawks 31-8 in the Wesco League opener for both teams.
Junior running back Christian Balmer rushed for 101 yards on 22 carries and scored on touchdown runs of two- and 15 yards for the Seagulls; teammates Attim Moultrie and Gabe Maggio each added a rushing TD in the victory.
The four Everett touchdown runs all came at the tail end of long scoring drives of 56, 61, 73 and 83 yards.
“That style of offense that Everett’s running this year is very challenging for us,” said Terrace Coach Kelly Dougan. “They’ve got big dudes – they probably outweigh us by several hundred pounds at the line of scrimmage. It’s a power running game; it’s difficult to stop and they played really well.”
“It’s just a lot to handle – a lot of big bodies pushing on you,” Dougan added.
The Seagull offensive line is anchored by 300-pound guard Anthony Amundsen and 310-pound guard Blake Flores while Terrace’s biggest linemen are Michael Phu and Jordan Clingan, each weighing in at 240 pounds.
The Hawk defense was also hurt by the absence of starting middle linebacker Thaddeus Merten who missed the game due to injury. Moussa Traore filled in at the position, but the change had ripple effects on the rest of the defensive lineup.
“Moussa was out of position so that hurt us out on the edge quite a bit when they did choose to run the ball wide,” Dougan explained. “We were vulnerable there because Moussa is so tough as an outside linebacker.”
Moussa led the defense with six solo tackles and an assisted tackle; JaBrae Richardson tallied five solo tackles and a fumble recovery for the Hawks.
The Terrace defense did force two Everett fumbles and three punts, but it wouldn’t be enough as an inconsistent Hawk offense moved the ball some but was unable to capitalize each time they were in Seagull territory.
Terrace gained 237 yards and matched the Seagulls’ first down total of 19, but had potential scoring drives stopped at Everett’s 35-yard line, the 15-yard line and the goal line.
“Us trying to run the ball, that was a challenge,” Dougan said. “It’s hard for our smaller guys to push bigger guys around. (Everett’s) got some really nice, big athletic linebackers; they’re smart, seasoned football players. So our running game wasn’t really there for us, and if you can’t run the ball it makes it tough to pass.”
Terrace starting quarterback Jesse Martineau connected on just 12 of 29 pass attempts for 108 yards; Keegan Grayson played most of the fourth quarter at the quarterback position and completed three of five pass attempts for 22 yards.
Grayson scored the only Hawk touchdown midway through the fourth quarter when the senior took the center snap directly and pounded his way through the line for a 3-yard TD run. He then found Brandon Bach in the end zone for the two-point conversion to complete the Terrace scoring.
Grayson had taken over for Martineau at quarterback at the end of the third quarter to run a wildcat offense, a scheme that relies heavily on the running ability of the quarterback. The change seemed to spark some spirit in the team – “It just added a little pep to their step, I think, and a little renewed energy,” Dougan observed.
After the game Dougan hinted that fans may see more of the Grayson-led wildcat formation in future contests, but added he has no plans on replacing Martineau as the team’s starting QB.
“We like to run the quarterback, that’s just not Jesse’s forte,” Dougan explained. “At least for the now it’s not really part of the offense when Jesse’s in. Jesse’s still our guy; our offense if built around him. He’s going to keep taking the reps. And we’re going to improve our running game, we’re going to improve our passing game, and we’re going to do it around him.”
The Hawks offense may have more success in their next game when they travel to Shoreline Stadium to face a much smaller Shorewood Thunderbirds, a team that has previously played Wesco League teams but this year has opted for an independent schedule. The T-Birds have only two players on the roster listed at more than 250 pounds.
Kickoff for the Friday, Sept. 22, Hawks-Thunderbirds game is slated for 7 p.m.
Prep Football: Everett at Mountlake Terrace, Sept. 15
Everett 0 14 10 7 — 31
Terrace 0 0 0 8 — 8
Second quarter scoring
7:27 — Christian Balmer (Everett) 2-yard TD run; David Eisenkraft PAT kick good
:25 — Attim Moultrie (Everett) 6-yard TD run; David Eisenkraft PAT kick good
Third quarter scoring
6:41 — David Eisenkraft (Everett) 40-yard field goal
:41 — Christian Balmer (Everett) 15-yard TD run; David Eisenkraft PAT kick good
Fourth quarter scoring
6:03 — Keegan Grayson (Mountlake Terrace) 3-yard TD run; two-point conversion pass from Grayson to Brandon Bach successful
2:34 — Gabe Maggio (Everett) 13-yard TD run; David Eisenkraft PAT kick good
Record: Mountlake Terrace 0-1 in 2A/3A Wesco League South Conference, 2-1 overall; Everett 1-0 in 2A/3A Wesco League South Conference, 2-1 overall
Mountlake Terrace next game: versus Shorewood, Friday, Sept. 22, 7 p.m. at Shoreline Stadium
–By Doug Petrowski