MILL CREEK — At halftime of last Friday night’s game against Glacier Peak, the Jackson Timberwolves looked as if they were well on their way to avenging last year’s loss to the Grizzlies.
Then the third quarter happened.
The Timberwolves were outscored 28-0 in the quarter and the Grizzlies came from behind to hand Jackson its first loss of the season 49-35. An outcome eerily familiar to the 45-35 loss the Timberwolves suffered to the Grizzlies a year ago.
Jackson recovered from that loss by running the table and winning the Wesco 4A South. Timberwolves coach Joel Vincent can only hope this year’s loss has a similar effect on his team.
“Our kids seemed to be really resilient,” Vincent said. “They were ready to learn from Friday and they were ready to get back to work. It almost seemed like it served as a wake-up call in some kind of way to the idea that you’ve got to work hard day in and day out every day. I’ve been really, really pleased with the overall mood and work that took place for us this week in practice.”
The Timberwolves followed the loss to the Grizzlies a year ago with a 36-34 victory over Edmonds-Woodway, a game that ultimately decided the league champion.
The two teams meet again tonight in the opening league game for both teams.
The Warriors come into this year’s game 3-0 having outscored their opponents 104-14.
“They appear to be in the film very well coached and solid in scheme,” Vincent said. “We’re going to really have to go out and play well and be able to sight adjust and do some things based on what they’re trying to do defensively and work our way around some of those things that they may be doing.”
Just how close the Warriors came to a league championship a year ago likely won’t be far from their memory as they enter tonight’s game.
“They obviously know what’s at stake because they were on the short end (of the league championship) largely because of that game,” Vincent said. “I think both teams really realize the importance of getting their league season off to a great start, especially in a head-to-head matchup between two teams that have kind of had their way with Wesco over the last eight, nine, ten years.”
In order for the Timberwolves to rebound from last week’s loss as they did a season ago, Vincent said his team needs to eliminate the mistakes.
“We’ve got to take care of the football,” Vincent said. “You can’t turn the ball over three times against a good football team and expect good things to happen. Number two, we’ve got to cut down on our penalties. We made good offensive plays and thought we were going to move the chains and there’s a flag on the ground that just stalled us out. We just have to clean things up and take care of the football.”
It seemed the Grizzlies capitalized on every one of those mistakes in taking control of the game in the third quarter.
“That third quarter, it seemed like a landslide that we’d like to forget,” Vincent said. “It wasn’t just a single thing. I think Glacier Peak made some good adjustments in terms of alignment on our receivers, but our receivers know and expect that is going to happen and they’ve got to do a better job of getting open and finding open spots.”
The loss to Glacier Peak ultimately doesn’t have any effect on the Timberwolves postseason hopes, but every game they play the rest of the way will — and no one in the Wesco South is a pushover.
“I think it makes for exciting football,” Vincent said. “I think that it’s great for our conference to have that strength. As the season unfolds and the playoff teams shake out, I think those games that you play against real quality opponents in your league season that get you to the playoffs are really going to help you once you get to the playoffs.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jackson vs. Edmonds-Woodway
Where: Edmonds Stadium
When: Today, 5 p.m.
Key players: Jackson—Alex Cheesman, QB; Nick White, RB/LB; Keynan Foster, WR/DB; Trey Robinson, WR/DB; John-Robert Woolley, TE/LB; Jake Miles, OL/LB. Edmonds-Woodway—Davis Giles, QB; Junior Opoku-Mensah, RB; Mac McLachlan, RB/LB; Scott Myricks, WR/DB; Haedyn McGrath, OL/DL; Theo Lebesis, TE/DL.
Lake Stevens vs. Monroe
Where: Bearcat Stadium, Monroe
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Breakdown: Last year this matchup, which ended in a 9-7 victory for Monroe in a defensive battle, decided the Wesco 4A North title. It could again this year as both teams figure to factor into the battle for the league title and with just four league games each every one is important. Lake Stevens and Monroe both sputtered out of the gate, losing their first two games before winning close contests last week to avoid dropping to 0-3. The Vikings are led by Wesco 4A-leading rusher Austin Otis and playmaker Gavin O’Neil, who caught two touchdowns last week in his new role as receiver (last year O’Neil played quarterback for Lake Stevens). For Monroe, which is running more of a spread offense this year, Andrew Zimmerman has thrown for 422 yards and four touchdowns. Running backs Max Blais (186 yards, 2 TD) and Gabe Moore (121, 3) spearhead the Bearcats’ rushing attack.
Granite Falls vs. Sultan
Where: Sultan H.S.
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Breakdown: The Black and Blue Bowl last season was decided by a late touchdown run by Sultan’s Bryce MacDicken as the Turks beat Granite Falls 40-35. Sultan trailed by a touchdown in the fourth quarter after the Tigers scored three unanswered touchdowns before mounting the comeback. MacDicken is gone to graduation, but the back-and-forth game was a classic example of how hard-fought this game is between the two rivals. This year both teams are battling to stay in the race for a wide open Cascade Conference title. Granite Falls is 0-3 but they have the leading rusher in the Cascade Conference in Matthew Hamilton, who has rushed for 321 yards. Sultan, meanwhile, is coming off of a big win over Cedarcrest and is looking to keep pace with the likes of Lakewood, King’s and South Whidbey.
Mount Vernon vs. Arlington
Where: John C. Larson Stadium
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Breakdown: It’s hard to gauge how impressive Mount Vernon’s 3-0 start is. The Bulldogs have played three former Northwest Conference rivals, defeating a 3A Stanwood and two 2A teams in Sedro-Woolley and Burlington-Edison. But Stanwood is improved under first-year coach Dave Telford and both the Cubs and Tigers are 2-1 and off to good starts besides the Mount Vernon game. Arlington, meanwhile, is coming off of its first win of the season, beating Stanwood 34-21 for the Stilly Cup. The Eagles played receiver Max Gray at quarterback for long stretches and the decision seemed to jump-start the Arlington offense. Gray for his part ran for 99 yards and a touchdown and also threw for a touchdown to earn The Herald’s co-Football Player of the Week.
Radio: KRKO, 1380 AM