HOMECOMINGVikings lay Homecoming egg MIKE ANDERTON | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
The Great Chicken made its traditional Homecoming appearance at Lake Stevens last Friday. But it was the Viking football team which laid the egg.
In the biggest game of the year so far, one which probably decided the Wesco North championship, Lake (4-2, 2-1 in Wesco) proved to be no match for undefeated Marysville (6-0, 4-0). A jam-packed crowd was on hand to bear witness.
In a highly anticipated battle between Marysville’s pound-it-out ground game and Lake’s pass-happy, no-huddle spread, fundamental blocking and tackling made all the difference.
To put it simply and plainly, the Toms controlled the line of scrimmage, harassing Viking quarterback Nick Baker with blitzes and covering his dump-off passes so well that 13 of his 20 completions went for less than 10 yards.
Meanwhile, Marysville’s rushing attack proved to be as good as advertised.
With league-leading rusher Austin Denton paving the way, the Toms punished Lake for 304 net yards for the night. That follows the 295 rushing yards the Vikings allowed to Jackson in the previous week.
Still, Lake may well have made a game of this had it not committed four turnovers and suffered from several bad snaps one of which cost it a 19-yard loss.
After Lake forced a three-and-out in Marysville’s first possession Baker’s first pass was intercepted by Ryan Sterley and returned 13 yards to the 50. Four plays later Sterley curled around left end for a 32-yard touchdown run. Danny Stokes’ PAT kick made it 7-0.
But not to worry, right? Lake entered this fray with a penchant for coming from behind, averaging 40 points a contest, scoring no fewer than 35 points in any of its previous games.
A holding penalty stopped a minor Viking drive in its next possession.
Colton Tupen’s interception on the Viking seven halted a Marysville threat, and on the next play, Bo Dickinson, returning to action after a two-game injury layoff, carried for a 32-yard gain helped by a brilliant Tupen block.
But that drive soon fizzled and Lake’s punt covered only eight yards, setting up Marysville on the Viking 48.
Zach Teuber recovered a pair of Marysville fumbles in the second quarter, temporarily staving off further damage, but Sterley returned the favor later in the quarter, recovering a Viking bobble on the latter’s 35, and seven plays later quarterback Devin Peterson tossed 11 yards to Jarrett Finau, the latter making a diving catch in the end zone to produce a 14-0 Tomahawk lead with 57 seconds left in the half.
Marysville has completed nine passes all season long but seven of those have gone for touchdowns. Peterson finished one-of-3 for the game.
Baker then fired off three completions -- including 30 yards to Dickinson and 13 to Trevor Riecks, setting up Donavan Granston’s 37-yard field goal try which was left and low 10 seconds before the halftime gala.
Lake received the second half kickoff with comeback on its mind. Dickinson carried for seven yards but injured his ankle on the play and did not return to the game.
Baker hit Eric Huswick for a 15-yard first down on the Marysville 48. But on the next play Duke Dolphin fumbled with Mark Pangilinan recovering on the 47 and nine plays later, with Denton lugging the ball 49 yards in seven carries, including a 3-yard touchdown, Marysville all but put the game away, 21-0, 6:22 left in the quarter.
In the fourth quarter Baker drove his team to a first down on the Marysville 11 but a bad center snap cost Lake five yards, which combined with three Baker incompletions to turn the ball back over to the Toms.
Marysville’s final touchdown covered 81 yards in 13 rushes, with Caleb Posey’s 9-yard run capping the scoring at 28-0, 7:16 before the bitter end.
Baker finished with 20 completions in 33 attempts (with two interceptions) for 179 yards. In the process he established the Viking career record for passing yardage (3171 and counting, breaking Dave Powroznik’s 1981-82 total of 3015 -- which Powroznik established in just 15 games), and for completions in a season (136, breaking Powroznik’s total of 135 in 1982).
Leading the Vikings in tackles was Sean Stickney with 16 and Jacob Huddle with 13.
Despite the discouraging loss, Lake remains very much alive in the chase for the Playoffs. With three games left Lake is still on track to nail down one of Wesco North’s three available Playoff slots.