By Jon Saperstein Herald Writer
EVERETT — In the wildest finish that Everett Memorial Stadium has likely seen in years, Jackson pulled out a miracle 36-34 overtime victory over Edmonds-Woodway Friday night in the opener of Wesco 4A south play for both teams.
Larry Baker-Bruce scampered into the end zone from 5 yards out to open the scoring in overtime. After a Warriors offsides penalty moved the PAT to just outside the 1-yard line Jackson coach Joel Vincent elected to go for two. Baker-Bruce ran in the conversion to give Jackson it’s first lead of this crazy game 36-28.
“We rolled the dice (by going for two),” said Vincent. “But we were running the ball effectively in the second half and I thought we could get the yard-and-a-half needed and that would force them to have to go for two.”
Edmonds-Woodway, which controlled the ball the entire game until two fourth-quarter fumbles brought Jackson into the fold again, had no problem getting in the end zone itself. But quarterback Davis Giles’ pass fell harmlessly to the turf with Timberwolves defenders in his face, causing the Jackson players to spill onto the field in euphoria.
“I called an inside blitz on the two-point conversion,” said Vincent. “I felt they were going to have to pass the ball, maybe give the quarterback a run-pass option and we got good pressure.”
Just minutes earlier it seemed all over for Jackson — at least it looked that way. Trailing 21-6 into the fourth quarter and unable to stop the Edmonds-Woodway rushing attack that had already tallied nearly 300 yards, the Timberwolves backs were against the wall.
On a third-and-12 play Timberwolves quarterback Conor Plaisance dropped back. He rolled to his left with the Warrior pressure and heaved a prayer down the sideline. Answering it 34 yards down field was teammate Trey Robinson. The pass was 20 yards longer than anything completed by Plaisance all night and it was the spark that lit a fire underneath the Timberwolves. If Robinson’s foot does not tiptoe in the line, Jackson likely punts and the Warriors run out the clock.
Three plays later the quarterback and wide receiver hooked up again on a 14-yard pass with 6:11 to play. The 2-point pass was good and suddenly the offense that mostly sputtered and defense that mostly fell on its hells had a chance, trailing just 21-14.
E-W’s Junior Opoku-Mensah, who rushed for over 300 yards and carried the ball more than 40 times, took the handoff on the next play from scrimmage and put it on the turf on the Jackson 11-yard line. It was the first turnover of the game, but any Timberwolves that didn’t believe started to with 6:05 to go.
Robinson converted an end-around pass to John-Robert Woolley on the next play to make the score 21-20. As in the overtime the Warriors were offside on the PAT and the T-Wolves went for two — what at the time felt like the win — but Bruce was stuffed for a loss.
As they had all game the Warriors took the ball with 5:56 left and rammed the ball down Jackson’s throat with Mac McLachlan capping the drive on a nine yard run to make the score 28-20.
A poor squib kick on the kickoff was returned into Warrior territory on the 41-yard line. It only took three plays for Jackson to punch in the touchdown and tie the score at 28-28 with a two-point conversion.
Once again however Edmonds ate the clock and drove down the field. With 34 seconds left in regulation Giles tossed what seemed like the game winning pass a 38 yard strike to a wide open Rheinford, but Opoku-Mensah fumbled again on the next carry.
Jackson took over on the four-yard line to set up the overtime.
“We didn’t play particularly well, but this game was a great example why you preach to the kids to play four quarters,” said Vincent. “It was a big win not only because it was the league opener, but it was also against the team a lot of people had picked as the league champion.”
At Everett Memorial Stadium
E—Junior Opoku-Mensah 4 run (Connor Davis kick)
E—Davis Giles 1 run (Davis kick)
J—Larry Baker-Bruce III 1 run (kick blocked)
E—Giles 1 run (Davis kick)
J—Trey Robinson 14 pass from Conor Plaisance (Plaisance pass to Alec Kisena)
J—John Robert Woolley 8 pass from Robinson (run failed)
E—Mac MacLachlan 9 run (Davis kick)
J—Robinson 8 run (Robinson run)
J—Bruce 5 run (Bruce Run)
E—Troy Reinford pass from Giles (pass failed)
Records—Edmonds-Woodway (0-1 league, 2-2 overall), Jackson (1-0, 3-1)