MARYSVILLE — Sometimes in big games the strategy is simple: Put the ball in the hands of your best player and hope for the best.
It was the strategy that Mountlake Terrace used in its football game Friday night against Marysville Getchell in a winner-to-quad districts/loser-out game and it paid off with a 39-8 victory.
At 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, Devante Downs is a challenge for defenses to bring down and the Chargers had little success doing it as the junior running back gained 136 yards on 23 carries and scored all six of the Hawks touchdowns.
“I feel pretty good,” Downs said after the game. “All that matters is we got the W.”
It wasn’t just Downs that found success on the ground. All of the Hawks running backs ran the ball well, including Chance Ragsdale who added 115 yards on 11 carries. The Hawks ran for a total of 281 yards.
“We meant to go out there and try to establish the run like we do every week,” Hawks head coach Tony Umayam said. “The fact that we have a couple of other good running backs outside of Devante like Chance Ragsdale, Lucas Pope and Chris Guerrero that helps open things up for Devante.”
With every game being a loser-out game from here on out, the Hawks are peaking at the right time.
“We are definitely on the upward trend,” Umayam said. “To look back and see where we were at the beginning of the year, just getting our feet wet with a new offense and how that has just continued to progress and improve. It has been exciting to do that. We have always tried to keep defense a constant here and play good defense and the offense is starting to come around now. So I’m pretty excited about where we are at.”
And it’s hard to imagine the Hawks would be where they are without Downs.
“He’s quite a load,” Umayam said. “And he moves very well for a guy his size. I know he would give a lot of credit to five guys and the tight end that are up front that block for him and our receivers block real well down field.”
After not winning a game in their first season, the Chargers won four games in 2012 to establish themselves as an up-and-coming program in the Wesco 3A North. But they were unable to get anything going offensively on Friday to secure the first playoff berth in school history.
The Hawks on the other hand will play Kennedy next week in the first round of the playoffs.
“I know that they are one of the top programs in the state, year in and year out,” Umayam said. “They are always in the playoffs. They are a good private school, but other than that I don’t think our school as ever played them. So we are excited to find out more about them.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Quil Ceda Stadium H.S.
MT—Devante Downs 8 run (run failed)
MT—Downs 1 run (run failed)
MT—Downs 1 run (Mike Jensen kick)
MT—Downs 5 run (Jensen kick)
MT—Downs 3 run (kick failed)
MG—Austin Miller 20 pass from Dylan Diedrich (Zander Seymer pass from Diedrich)
MT—Downs 31 run (Jensen kick)
Records—Mountlake Terrace 5-4 overall. Marysville Getchell 4-5.