STANWOOD — On Jackson’s football roster, Riley Carr is listed as a running back and a linebacker. Don’t let that fool you. He is so much more.
In an unbelievably well-rounded performance, Carr helped the Jackson High School football team overcome a rough start and steamroll the Stanwood Spartans 35-18 on Friday.
In between tackling, punting and carrying the ball, Carr caught seven passes for 165 yards and three touchdowns. All three of his TD receptions came in the second half when Jackson pulled away in a season-opening non-division game at Stanwood Stadium.
After falling behind 10-0 in the first quarter, Jackson — the defending Western Conference South Division champion — scored 35 straight points and spoiled first-year Stanwood head coach Aaron Cupp’s debut.
Carr, who also rushed for a score in the second quarter, reached the end zone on passes of 54 yards, 53 yards and 17 yards from ultra-accurate Jackson quarterback Andy Gay. Carr did most of his damage after the catch, churning through and running around defenders. Gay was locked on no matter who he threw to, completing 24 of 30 passes for 342 yards and four TDs.
“They’re two kids that obviously are blessed with some athletic ability … and they’re two kids that have really worked hard too,” Jackson head coach Joel Vincent said.
Carr, who rushed nine times for 42 yards, was one of four Timberwolves who caught at least three passes. The others were Kyle Olson (eight catches, 80 yards), Trevor Hegeberg (six catches, 49 yards) and speedster John Wilde (three catches for 40 yards with a 14-yard TD).
Refusing to go away, Stanwood took the ball 80 yards on a fourth-quarter scoring drive that cut it to 35-18. Spartans QB Michael McCune capped it with an 18-yard pass to Clint Hepper, who also caught a TD pass in the first quarter.
“I’m proud of our kids. We kept fighting at the end,” Cupp said. “I think it would have been really easy for us to go belly-up there, but I felt like we had enough pride and kept on going.”
At first, Stanwood had great passing success with its new spread offense. McCune started 4-for-5 for 72 yards. But after that he misfired on nine consecutive throws, including two third-quarter interceptions. Stanwood also lost a fumble in the quarter.
Cupp said his team got a little greedy after completing some big plays. The Spartans will learn to take what a defense gives them, he said.
“As we get a little bit more savvy running a passing-type offense, I think some of that stuff’s going to go away,” said Cupp.
McCune was 13-for-25 passing for 155 yards. Hard-running back Brad Gee led the Spartans with 91 yards rushing, almost all in the second half.
Jackson had several defensive leaders, including Carr and end Jake White.
“He’s a pretty good defensive lineman, isn’t he? He’s a bulldog,” coach Vincent said of the relentless 5-foot-11, 230-pounder.
At Stanwood Stadium
Stanwood—Hepper 22 pass from McCune (Schmidt kick)
Stanwood—Schmidt FG 21
Jackson—Wilde 14 pass from Gay (Sullivan kick)
Jackson—Carr 1 run (Sullivan kick)
Jackson—Carr 54 pass from Gay (Sullivan kick)
Jackson—Carr 17 pass from Gay (Sullivan kick)
Jackson—Carr 53 pass from Gay (Sullivan kick)
Stanwood—Hepper 18 pass from McCune (Schmidt pass from McCune)
Records—Jackson 1-0 overall. Stanwood 0-1.
Mike Cane: email@example.com. Check out the prep sports blog Double Team at www.heraldnet.com/doubleteam.