If offense is your thing, hopefully you made it down to Woolsey Stadium for Friday’s Class 1A quarterfinal in which Nooksack Valley stunned King’s 54-47.
Both squads were attempting to advance past the quarterfinals for the first time since the field expanded to 16 teams four decades ago.
The host Knights looked well on their way to going from winless in 2007 to the semis after scoring the first two times they touched the ball. But sandwiched between those touchdowns (opening kickoff return by senior Nick Swanson and a long run by junior quarterback Thomas Vincent) was a 15-play, 86-yard scoring drive spanning seven minutes by the Pioneers.
At 14-6, a jammed stadium probably realized that a pinball-machine scoring game was in store.
Vincent found Swanson from 44 yards out on King’s fourth play from scrimmage and hit junior Curtis Clauson on a 5-yard strike early in the second period, making it an astonishing 26-6. The teams traded touchdowns to close the half, with King’s up 33-13.
At this point, it looked as if Nooksack Valley’s defense had taken a detour during the two-hour bus ride from Everson. But to say that there wasn’t any panic in that locker room would be an understatement for the ages.
“We looked at our kids’ eyes at halftime and said, ‘Boy, they don’t have any doubt. We’ve got to like this and take advantage of it,'” explained Nooksack Valley coach Robb Myhre, whose team had the highest scoring average in the 1A/2A/3A Northwest League. “And, they did a great job of doing that.”
For the King’s faithful, the third quarter unfortunately will live in infamy as the Knights were outscored 27-7. The fourth was even worse, as King’s was shut out — and eight seniors saw their high school careers come to an abrupt ending.
“I’m a proud papa, because our story line is (we were) 0-10 two years ago with kids having problems off the field, on the field,” said King’s coach Jim Shapiro, in his 13th year. “People didn’t want to turn out for this football team. We went from 20 kids that were in the sophomore class that are now seniors, to eight. Those kids have battled, they’ve bought into the weight room, and they’ve truly decided to make a difference in this program. So to go from 0-10 to this level of football and to go (collectively) 100 plus (points) on the scoreboard against the No. 6 team in the state, it tells you what kind of kids we have in this program.”
Here’s a bunch of stats that didn’t make it into Saturday’s game story (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/highschoolsports/2010321889_fessenden21.html). You’ll see that, not surprisingly, both squads feature a trio of skill-position stars.
King’s (469 yards of total offense — only 200 in the second half)
Vincent, the Cascade Conference offensive most valuable player: 17 of 34 for 301 yards and four touchdowns; 136 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns
Swanson (first-team receiver, co-special teams player of the year with Archbishop Murphy’s Alex Martinez): eight receptions for 144 yards and a touchdown; 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown
Junior wide receiver Curtis Clauson (first-team receiver): seven receptions for 86 yards and two touchdowns
Nooksack Valley (546 yards of total offense — 340 after halftime)
Junior quarterback Tyler Perry: 14 of 21 for 154 yards and a touchdown; 44 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns
Senior running back Nick deGrasse: 237 yards on 37 carries and four touchdowns
Senior wide receiver Anthony Reese: six receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown; two carries for 85 yards and a touchdown; interception; 83-yard kickoff return