It took all 48 minutes of regulation time and two overtime sessions, but the Mountlake Terrace Hawks were able to secure a spot in a much-coveted 3A Week 10 playoff game the first weekend in November after slipping past the Stanwood Spartans 7-6 in a Wesco League crossover game played Friday night at Edmonds Stadium.
Hawks’ senior Zaveon Jones plowed his way into the end zone on a 4-yard TD run and teammate Braedan Swan booted the PAT to snatch the victory on the final two plays of the marathon contest.
“Our mantra this year was grind, so we grind things out. We never give up,” said Terrace Coach Archie Malloy following the win.
The Hawks had to scratch and claw their way through the highly-intense and physical matchup with the Spartans to earn the victory. The two teams held each other scoreless through regulation and the first overtime before any points were put up on the scoreboard.
In the second OT, Stanwood’s Silas Turpin scampered up the middle for a 6-yard rushing touchdown for the game’s first score. The two-point conversion attempt that followed was unsuccessful as running back Joey Mumbuluma was tackled for no gain.
The Hawks’ second overtime possession yielded their only points when Jones scored his game-winning touchdown and Swan added the extra point for the win.
“I’ve been around high school athletics for 29 years, I’ve seen a couple of games like this but each one is unique and has a unique thumbprint,” Malloy commented. “And you know what, we left ours on this one tonight.”
A Mountlake Terrace victory looked doubtful twice late in the game as the Spartans lined up for game-winning field-goal attempts on two separate occasions. The first was unsuccessful when Nathaniel Westerfield’s 32-yard try bounced off the left upright just as the clock counted down to one second to go in the game. Later, a Westerfield 27-yard attempt on the final play of the first overtime was blocked by Terrace’s Asa Young.
Scoring opportunities throughout the contest were rare otherwise as the defenses of both teams allowed long drives by their opposing offenses but stiffened when called upon to stop potential scores. Stanwood produced offensive drives of 14, 12, 12 and 11 plays in the game but was stymied each time before reaching the end zone.
Malloy was proud of the effort his defensive squad produced against the gritty Spartans.
“We defend every blade of grass on the field. And we just step up and we play the next play,” Malloy said. “We flush the previous play and we just play ball. We look forward; we don’t live in our fears. But we reside, definitely, in the fact that we know that we’re going to bring it every play.”
Three of Stanwood’s long drives were ended when they failed to convert on fourth-down plays, including the Spartans’ opening drive when they were stopped by the Terrace defense at the one-yard line.
When it wasn’t the Hawks’ defensive efforts thwarting the Spartans, it was self-inflicted mistakes. Stanwood was called for eight penalties in the matchup, the team’s most-damaging a block-in-the-back that negated a 24-yards TD run by Max Mayo late in the second quarter.
Terrace also had a touchdown disallowed during regulation time when a Jones’ 72-yard TD run with 1:52 to go in the game was erased because of a personal foul.
Jones did go over 100 yards rushing in the game, something the 235-lb. running back has done in each of Terrace’s nine contests this season. Friday’s rushing yardage also pushed the senior’s rushing yards for Terrace to more than 4,000 in his prep career.
Jones operated out of a wildcat formation for much of the night on Friday, a wrinkle that Malloy and the Hawks have been working on for months. “That’s something that we toyed with throughout the course of the season, at practice and then in the preseason. And you know what, we broke it out,” Malloy said. “You’ve got to break out all your little tricks this time of year.”
With the victory, the Hawks will next face a yet-to-be-determined foe on either Nov. 3 or 4; the winner of that contest will punch their ticket into the 16-team 3A state championship tournament that begins on Nov. 10.
This will be the first time since 2014 that Mountlake Terrace will be playing a Week 10 playoff game. When asked if he had any hint as to who the Hawks’ opponent in that winner-to-state loser-out game might be, Malloy responded, “No idea; we just know we’re playing.”
Prep Football: Mountlake Terrace 7 – Stanwood 6, Oct. 27
Stanwood 0 0 0 0 – 0 6 – 6
Terrace 0 0 0 0 – 0 7 – 7
2nd overtime scoring:
– Silas Turpin (Stanwood) 6-yard TD run; two-point conversion attempt failed
– Zaveon Jones (Mountlake Terrace) 4-yard TD run; Braedan Swan PAT kick good
Records: Mountlake Terrace 5-2 in 3A Wesco League, 5-3 overall; Stanwood 2-5 in 3A Wesco League, 3-6 overall
Mountlake Terrace next game: versus opponent to-be-determined; time, place and date to be announced (3A Week 10 Playoff Game; winner-to-state, loser-out game)
— By Doug Petrowski