By David Krueger Herald Writer
LAKE STEVENS — Glacier Peak and its new quarterback came out firing in the first quarter, putting up 14 points on Lake Stevens. But it was the Grizzlies defense — and a field goal that traveled almost half the field — that sealed the season-opening win for Glacier Peak.
Justin Guffey had an interception return for a touchdown and blocked an extra point late in the game, and Spencer Pettit kicked a 52-yard field goal to help Glacier Peak hold off Lake Stevens 24-20 in both teams’ nonconference season opener Friday night at Lake Stevens High School.
“I think they did a great job rallying and battling,” said Glacier Peak head coach Rory Rosenbach. “Oh, there were mistakes… but we did some good things. Great defense in the second half, good job running the ball.”
Branson Corwin, making his first start for the Grizzlies, helped Glacier Peak to an early lead with two touchdown passes to Trey Chambers from 15 and nine yards out. Corwin threw four straight incompletions to start the game, but finished 10-for-29 with 156 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
After Glacier Peak scored 14 straight points, the Vikings responded early in the second quarter, with a 41-yard touchdown run by Gavin O’Neil on the first play of the quarter. After a 15-yard sack by CJ Lat ended the next Glacier Peak drive on 4th-and-3 it took one play, a 47-yard pass from Lake Stevens sophomore Jacob Eason to Tevin Gray, to tie the game at 14.
Then Guffey broke the tie with a 41-yard interception return, which turned out to be the game-winning score, while giving Glacier Peak a 21-14 lead. Two plays later Eason threw his third interception of the half, with Kaianoa Wong catching the ball for the Grizzlies.
After the high octane offenses flourished in the first half, the defenses took over in the second half with Pettit’s long field goal with six minutes to go in the fourth quarter the first points for either team in the half.
“I thought both defenses in the second half were really good,” Rosenbach said. “We talked at half about how we had to get physical and they did.”
It was the longest kick in a game for Pettit, who has made it from as far as 62 yards out in practice.
“I was pretty nervous,” Pettit said. “Coach came up and asked if I could do it and I said, ‘yeah.’”
Rosenbach said he had confidence in his kicker.
“Yeah, he made it didn’t he? I never had a doubt,” Rosenbach said with a smile. “…I knew he’d be close so I gave him a shot at it.”
Lake Stevens’ offense finally got going in the second half with a touchdown on a 17 yard run by Austin Otis. On the ensuing extra point the Vikings were whistled for a false start and moved back five yards. Lake Stevens kicker Ignacio Ponce’s second attempt was blocked by Guffey.
“That’s what we hoped he can do,” Rosenbach said. “That’s what we saw in him.”
Both quarterbacks had some early-game struggles, throwing interceptions in the first five minutes of the game. Rosenbach said Corwin, a senior, had some “learning experiences,” but that he helped keep the Grizzlies in the game.
“Really, it’s the first start for both guys,” Rosenbach said of Corwin and Eason, who is taking over for Gavin O’Neil behind center at Lake Stevens. “We did some good things. We did some bad things.”
Otis finished the game with 120 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. Eason, who wasn’t afraid to throw the ball, completed 24-of-50 attempts for 286 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions.
Matthew Darling led the Glacier Peak rushing attack carrying the ball 23 times for 116 yards. Corwin, who utilized the read option for the Grizzlies, added 34 yards on 14 carries.
At Lake Stevens H.S.
Glacier Peak 14 7 0 3 — 24
Lake Stevens 0 14 0 6 — 20
GP—Trey Chambers 15 pass from Branson Corwin (Spencer Pettit kick)
GP—Chambers 9 pass from Corwin (Pettit kick)
LS—Gavin O’Neil 41 run (Ignacio Ponce kick)
LS—Tevin Gray 47 pass from Jacob Eason (Ponce kick)
GP—Justin Guffey 41 interception return (Pettit kick)
GP—Pettit 52 FG
LS—Austin Otis 17 run (kick blocked)
Records—Glacier Peak 1-0 overall. Lake Stevens 0-1.