Edmonds-Woodway beats Jackson in thriller

EDMONDS — Having been through several hard-fought games with Jackson over the years, Edmonds-Woodway football coach John Gradwohl knew what to expect when the two teams faced off again on Friday night.

And he made sure his players knew it, too.

“I told my kids, this game goes to the end,” Gradwohl said. “I don’t care what the score is and at what point in time, it’s going to go to the last minute of the game because it always does.

“I said, ‘If you get up, don’t get happy. And if you get down, don’t get sad. It’s going to go to the end.’ And it did again.”

Gradwohl’s words were prophetic as Edmonds-Woodway, trailing 28-21 midway through the fourth quarter, scored two late touchdowns to overtake and eventually defeat the Timberwolves 35-28 in a back-and-forth Western Conference 4A thriller at Edmonds District Stadium.

It was the conference opener for both teams. Edmonds-Woodway improved to 4-0 overall, while Jackson dropped to 2-2.

The Warriors got the winning touchdown with 28 seconds to play on a 7-yard burst through the left side of the line by running back Mac McLachlan. And that TD followed perhaps the game’s biggest play, a blocked punt by Edmonds-Woodway’s Antonio Sherrill with a little over two minutes remaining.

Rushing from the right side, Sherrill came through to block the kick at the Edmonds-Woodway 47-yard line and the ball bounced back across midfield. It was finally downed at the Jackson 41.

Keeping the ball on the ground, the Warriors needed five plays to reach the T-wolves 7, setting up McLachlan’s scoring run.

“When we blocked that (punt),” McLachlan said, “I knew we were going to score.” And on his final carry, “I saw (the hole) open up and I just went for it.”

McLachlan also scored the tying touchdown with 5:08 to play in the game on a 5-yard carry. On both fourth-quarter TDs, he lined up in the backfield next to quarterback Davis Giles and took a direct snap from center.

McLachlan and teammate Junior Opoku-Mensah were a powerful one-two rushing tandem for the Warriors. McLachlan, a 6-foot, 195-pound senior, had 18 carries for 170 yards and three touchdowns, while the 5-9, 175-pound Opoku-Mensah carried 33 times for 209 yards.

Opoku-Mensah also had three receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown.

Running the football “is our strength,” Gradwohl said. “We spent a lot of time getting better at it this week and it really paid off.”

The Warriors ended up with 506 yards of total offense, which included 122 passing yards by Giles.

“(Jackson is) a heck of a football team,” Gradwohl said. “And they’ve got some great players over there. I feel lucky to get away with a win.”

“We really wanted this game,” McLachlan said. “(The T-wolves) are a tough team and they played hard, (but) we just wanted it more.”

The T-wolves finished with 231 yards of offense, and got two touchdowns apiece from running back Nick White and wide receiver Travante Robinson. It was *White who had the game’s longest play, a 76-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the second quarter, following a lateral from teammate Andrew Cho.

Jackson coach Joel Vincent was understandably disappointed by the outcome. “Tight ballgames are exciting until you don’t win,” he said, “and then they’re tough.

“The kids played really hard,” he added. “That was two pretty good football teams right there. But one, us, made too many mistakes.”

At Edmonds Stadium

Jackson 0 14 6 8 — 28

Edmonds-Woodway 0 14 7 14 — 35

Edmonds-Woodway—Opoku-Mensah 14 pass from Giles (Fatty kick)

Jackson—White 76 kickoff return (Zeng kick)

Jackson—White 1 run (Zeng kick)

Edmonds-Woodway—McLachlan 7 run (Fatty kick)

Jackson—Robinson 29 pass from Love (kick failed)

Edmonds-Woodway—Myricks 14 pass from Giles (Fatty kick)

Jackson—Robinson 4 run (Robinson run)

Edmonds-Woodway—McLachlan 5 run (Fatty kick)

Edmonds-Woodway—McLachlan 7 run (Fatty kick)

*Correction, Sept. 30, 2013: The original article included the incorrect name.

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