EDMONDS — After playing just five quarters in Edmonds-Woodway’s first six games, running back Desmond Young was ready to go the distance against Mariner on Friday night.
And what a difference it made, both for the Warriors and for Young himself.
Despite a painful thigh bruise and a bit of late-game cramping, Young churned for 210 yards on 23 carries with four touchdowns to lead Edmonds-Woodway to a 44-13 rout of the Marauders in a Wesco 4A South football game at Edmonds District Stadium.
The Warriors took control right from the start, scoring touchdowns on their first five possessions to gain a 34-0 halftime lead. Though Mariner scored the first touchdown of the second half, Edmonds-Woodway answered with a touchdown and a field goal to put the game away.
“Man, we were hitting on all cylinders tonight,” said a grinning John Gradwohl, Edmonds-Woodway’s head coach. “That’s one of the better first halves we’ve ever played.”
Young, who missed three full games and parts of two others with an early-season hamstring injury, was “a game-changer,” Gradwohl said. Conversely, Young’s absence was maybe a big reason Edmonds-Woodway lost two of the three games he sat out.
With a mostly healthy Young in the backfield — he was still limping noticeably at times, due to the more recent thigh bruise — Edmonds-Woodway simply overpowered a good Mariner team. His first carry was an ill omen for the Marauders, a 38-yarder to set up an early Warriors TD.
“On the first play of the game you could see his ability to explode,” Gradwohl said. “He’s getting beat up because everybody gets after him, but he gets healthy for Fridays.”
Sixteen of Young’s 23 carries went for 5 yards or more, and three of the seven that did not were touchdown runs of 4, 3 and 4 yards.
“You’re talking about a guy who sat out a month and now we’re playing him a lot,” Gradwohl said. “This is still the first part of the year for him when it comes to how many games he’s played.”
“For the first (full) game of my senior year to be the seventh game, it’s been killing me a lot,” Young said. “I’ve been playing football since I was six and never missed a game in my life until this year, so it hurt when I had to miss those games. … It felt good to play a full game.”
But if Young was the star of the show, other Warriors played important supporting roles. Quarterback Davis Giles completed six of eight passes for 85 yards, including a 36-yard scoring strike to wide receiver Jacob Roling.
Edmonds-Woodway totaled 444 yards of offense, and the defense held Mariner to 182 yards, including just 37 yards in the first half before a 20-yard gain on the final play before halftime.
The Marauders also hurt themselves by losing two first-half fumbles. Both gave Edmonds-Woodway short fields for quick TDs.
“It was a really good first half for us,” Gradwohl said, “and I don’t think it was their best first half, obviously, with the fumbles deep in their own territory. They hurt themselves in the turnover game, and we took advantage of that.”
The victory assures Edmonds-Woodway of a spot in the upcoming quad-district playoffs. The Warriors will first host Wesco 4A North No. 2 Lake Stevens in next week’s crossover game.
Friday’s defeat was a huge disappointment for Mariner, which came into the game tied with Edmonds-Woodway for second place in the Wesco South.
“They just dominated us from the first play,” said Marauders coach John Ondriezek. “They dominated us on the line of scrimmage. Their kids came to play. They were more physical than we were and they just controlled the football game.”
Mariner will face Wesco 4A North No. 3 Arlington next week for the chance to advance to the quad-district playoffs.
The Marauders “will bounce back,” Ondriezek said. “It’s a new season next week, so we’ll put this one behind us and work for next week, which is all we can do.”
At Edmonds Stadium
EW—Young 4 run (kick failed)
EW—Young 3 run (Davis kick)
EW—Roling from Giles 36 pass (Davis kick)
EW—Opoku-Mensah 3 runs (Davis kick)
EW—Young 5 run (Davis kick)
M—Williamson 1 run (kick failed)
EW—Young 3 run (Davis kick)
EW—Davis 26 FG
M—Ahmad-Woods 8 run (Kutsyy kick)
Records—Mariner 2-2 league, 5-3 overall. Edmonds-Woodway 3-1, 6-2.