Even thought Mountlake Terrace racked up more than 800 yards rushing in their past two games, some still doubted the legitimacy of the Hawks’ running game. The impressive totals were collected against two weak teams with a combined record of 3-13; could Terrace duplicate that effort against a quality opponent? Well, Terrace put those doubts to rest as the team ran for 300 yards enroute to a 24-17 victory over the Stanwood Spartans Friday night at Edmonds Stadium.
The win sends Terrace to the state playoffs for the third time in four years. The team will take on Mountain View next Friday or Saturday in a District 1/2/3/4 match-up in Vancouver.
The one-two punch of running backs Malcolm Johnson and Chance Ragsdale – “Thunder and Lightning” as Head Coach Tony Umayam referred to them after the game – led the ground attack. Ragsdale carried the ball 30 times for 199 yards and three touchdowns, while Johnson had his biggest statistical game of the season, running the ball 14 times for 90 yards.
Most of Mountlake Terrace’s yardage gains, and all of their scoring, came in the first half. “We came out early and established what we wanted to establish,” said Umayam, “and that’s driving people off the ball and running hard.” At the end of the first quarter, MTHS had 109 yards rushing to Stanwood’s nine yards of total offense.
After a first offensive possession of three plays and a punt, Terrace scored the next four times they touched the ball. Ragsdale punched the ball into the end zone on a one-yard run in the first quarter, then had second quarter touchdown runs of 27 and 34 yards.
The Hawks took a 24-7 lead after a Michael Jenson 24-yard field goal with 11 seconds left in the half, but gifted Stanwood an opportunity for a 31-yard field goal to close out the half on a collection of 15-yard personal foul and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. The Spartans converted the field goal and trailed at the break 24-10.
Umayam was philosophical after the game about the rash of penalties against his team just before the half. “Sometimes you’re going to have games like that,” he said. “As long as you’re not going to let the penalties beat you, then we can live with that.”
“We talked about it at halftime; we didn’t talk about football at halftime,” he said. “We talked about keeping our heads, staying in the moment, and not having stupid penalties.” Terrace ended the game with seven penalties for 84 yards.
Despite losing their starting quarterback Drew Wright to injury, Stanwood toughened up in the second half and made a game of it. Backup quarterback Chad Niven rushed for 61 yards on 14 carries and completed five of six pass attempts for 87 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown pass to Lawrence Wanambisi early in the fourth quarter to close Terrace’s lead to seven, 24-17. Then on their final possession, the Spartans came up a yard short on a crucial fourth-and-two at the Hawk five-yard line with less than three minutes to go. Terrace took over and ran out the clock to secure the victory.
“Defensively, we bent a lot but we didn’t break,” Umayam said. The Hawks gave up 221 yards through the air to Stanwood, but only 62 yards rushing. Senior Brett Potter led the squad with five solo tackles and assisting on four more. The defense also grabbed two takeaways, one interception by Ryan Lacasse and one fumble recovery by Dexter Kemper.
In addition to the Mountlake Terrace – Mountain View match-up in the first round of the playoffs next weekend, other Wesco teams have qualified for the postseason too. Wesco champion Marysville-Pilchuck will host the No. 5 team from the Metro League, Glacier Peak gets a home date against the No. 3 team from the Narrows League, Meadowdale will face Timberline, Oak Harbor drew Mt. Si, and Ferndale has the unenviable task of taking on No.1-ranked Bellevue.
MTHS Football: Mountlake Terrace 24 – Stanwood 17
Stanwood 0 10 0 7 — 17
Terrace 7 17 0 0 — 24
Scoring plays: Ragsdale (MTHS) one-yard TD run (kick good)
Ragsdale 27-yard TD run (kick good)
Wright (Stanwood) 76-yard TD pass to Wanambisi (kick good)
Ragsdale 34-yard TD run (kick good)
Jensen (MTHS) 14-yard field goal
Stanwood kicker 31-yard field goal
Niven (Stanwood) 16-yard TD pass to Wanambisi (kick good)
Record: Mountlake Terrace 5-4 overall, Stanwood 3-6
MTHS next game: versus Mountain View (Vancouver), Friday or Saturday, Nov. 8 or 9, at a time and site in the Vancouver area to-be-determined
— By Doug Petrowski