SNOHOMISH — The Glacier Peak high school football team had never lost to the Snohomish Panthers in its brief school history. On Friday night the Grizzlies weren’t about to let their streak come to an end.
Ayden Ziomas threw for three touchdowns and ran for another as Glacier Peak maintained its dominion over its crosstown rival, coming from behind to defeat Snohomish 28-14 in a nonleague game at Snohomish High School.
There was a school of thought coming into the game that if ever there was a year Snohomish could finally end its frustration against Glacier Peak, this was it. Especially with star running back Keegan Stich primed to run wild. And for a moment it seemed like those prognosticators would be right.
But Glacier Peak responded to an early deficit with three consecutive touchdowns — two long connections between Ziomas and Bo Burns along with a TD scramble by Ziomas — to take control of the game and re-establish the city hierarchy.
“I would hate to be that first class that loses to the Snohomish team,” Ziomas said. “They’re a great team, a great program. But we played together as a team, we played a great game today and I think it paid off, so I’m glad we got the win.”
Ziomas finished 10-for-17 for 188 yards and three scores for Glacier Peak (1-1), which has now won six straight against Snohomish (1-1).
The Grizzlies also did a good job adjusting to Stich. Stich was unstoppable early in the game as Glacier Peak had no answer for his combination of strength and speed — four plays into the second quarter Stich already had 139 yards from scrimmage. But as the game wore on the Grizzlies made Stich work harder and harder for his yards, and they prevented him from breaking any more big runs.
Stich finished the game with 139 yards on 28 carries, plus a 44-yard reception.
“Our defensive staff made some great adjustments,” Glacier Peak coach Nick Bender said. “It was just reminding our kids how to play our base defense with block-down and step-down procedures, make him bounce his runs and give us time to gang-tackle. Stich is a great player, there’s no doubt about it, but luckily we were able to answer that call tonight.”
It looked as though Snohomish may finally end its Glacier Peak curse early in the game. On the first play from scrimmage Panthers quarterback Langdon Orgill hit Stich for a 44-yard completion, beginning a six-play, 80-yard drive that ended with Stich’s 11-yard touchdown run that gave Snohomish a 7-0 lead. When the Panthers forced a three-and-out on the Grizzlies’ ensuing possession, then began driving again, it looked like it may be the Panthers’ night.
But the Panthers then turned the ball over on downs, and Glacier Peak took control. First, facing 4th-and-7, the Grizzlies executed a well-designed screen pass, Ziomas hitting Burns in the left flat. Good blocking dealt with the first bank of defenders, then there was nothing but open space after that as Burns raced 41 yards into the end zone to knot the score at 7-7.
Then after a quick Snohomish possession the Ziomas-to-Burns combination struck again. This time Ziomas aired it out deep, and Burns adjusted to the ball in the air better than the defender. The defender fell down and Burns walked into the end zone for a 63-yard score, giving the Grizzlies a 14-7 lead midway through the second quarter.
Less than three minutes later it was 21-7. A fumble that Snohomish disputed gave Glacier Peak the ball on the Panthers 24-yard line. Three plays later Ziomas was flushed from the pocket, but he got away from the pressure and scrambled 25 yards for a touchdown as the Grizzlies went into halftime leading by 14.
Snohomish gave itself a glimmer of hope midway through the fourth quarter, taking advantage of a muffed punt as Orgill found Tristin Harmston for a 28-yard touchdown to make it a one-score game. But Glacier Peak answered right back, capping off an 83-yard drive with Ziomas’ 4-yard corner fade to Evan Mannes to secure the victory.