After giving up an opening scoring drive to the visiting Nathan Hale Raiders Friday night, the Mountlake Terrace Hawks threw out their prepared game plans for the non-league football match-up at Edmonds Stadium and went back to basics.
The strategic changes paid off as the Hawks’ defense shut down Nathan Hale for the rest of the night while the offense scored on five of their eight possessions; the result was Terrace’s first win of the season, a 31-8 victory over the Raiders at Edmonds District Stadium.
Terrace got touchdown runs from Jesse James Martineau, Brandon Bach and Jordan Sims, with Martineau also throwing a TD pass to Seydou Traore. Noah Thompson kicked a third-quarter, 27-yard field goal to add to the Hawks’ points total.
Much of the offensive success for Terrace could be attributed to an emphasis on the running game. The Hawks ran for 152 yards, the most in a game this season. (Terrace ran for 102 yard on Sept. 7 and minus-10 on Aug. 31.) They also picked up 13 of their 16 first downs in the contest via the run.
Coach Kelly Dougan hadn’t gone into the game with a run-heavy plan, but made the call after a first quarter that saw the Hawks gain only 5 yards and go three-and-out on offense twice.
“We decided, after I think it was our second possession, that we needed to just commit to the run,” Dougan said.
Senior lineman Arjae Guiao was surprised with the change in the offensive game plan. “As a lineman on the offense, I did not think we were going to run the ball that much,” he said. “I was expecting a 50-50 pass-to-run (ratio). But obviously the run was working. We were getting 3 to 4 yards each down and it just kept going.”
The biggest contributor to the Hawk running attack was Traore. The junior rushed for 45 yards on 14 carries, much to the delight of Guiao.
“I love blocking for that guy,” Guiao said of Traore. “Seydou brings so much positivity. He always thanks us linemen, which always makes us feel good. And it just makes us want to block for him even more.”
Guiao, in addition to playing on the offensive line, saw a lot of action on the defensive front and was affected by an early game modification of strategy there.
“(Going into the game) we changed up our defense to accommodate for how they run, but it wasn’t working,” Guaio explained. “So we went back to what we know, which is tackling, hitting hard and being more physical than the other team.”
The change worked. The Raiders gained 76 yards with their first possession that ended with a Frankie Nunes 11-yard touchdown run. But after Terrace moved some players around and became more physical, Nathan Hale was held to only 82 yards of total offense for the rest of the contest.
Dougan credited “a good week of practice” for his defense’s performance on Friday.
“We tackled every day, whether it was live tackling or with tackling bags, and we just worked on technique and repetition,” he said. “That obviously helped us out quite a bit.”
After starting the season 0-2, the Hawks’ locker room was thunderous with joy after Friday’s win.
“It feels so good, it feels so good, I’m telling you,” Guaio exclaimed. “Me and my teammates, we worked so hard for this … we earned this today.”
Prep Football: Nathan Hale at Mountlake Terrace, Sept. 14
Nathan Hale 8 0 0 0 — 8
Terrace 0 14 3 14 — 31
First quarter scoring:
5:04 — Frankie Nunes (Nathan Hale) 11-yard TD run; Nunes two-point conversion run is good
Second quarter scoring:
5:01 — Jesse James Martineau (Mountlake Terrace) 1-yard TD run; Brandon Bach two-point conversion run is good
1:18 — Brandon Bach (Mountlake Terrace) 9-yard TD run; two-point conversion attempt is no good
Third quarter scoring:
3:17 — Noah Thompson (Mountlake Terrace) 27-yard field goal
Fourth quarter scoring:
10:50 — Jesse James Martineau (Mountlake Terrace) 35-yard TD pass to Seydou Traore; Noah Thompson PAT kick is good
3:09 — Jordan Sims (Mountlake Terrace) 5-yard TD run; Alberto Paredes PAT kick is good
Records: Mountlake Terrace 0-0 in 2A Northwest Conference Lake Division, 1-2 overall; Nathan Hale 0-0 in 3A Metro League Valley Conference, 1-2 overall
Mountlake Terrace next game: versus Anacortes, Friday, Sept. 21, 8 p.m. at Edmonds Stadium
— By Doug Petrowski