EVERETT — The Jackson Timberwolves like their new nickname, even if some of them don’t quite know what it means.
After improving to 3-0 in Wesco 4A South play with a 35-32 victory over Mariner on Friday, Jackson head coach Joel Vincent nicknamed his team the “Kardiac Kids” after the 1980 Cleveland Browns, who won several of their games in the final seconds.
The Timberwolves have now won all three of their conference games by a total of six points. They beat Edmonds-Woodway 36-34 in overtime, then followed that with a 21-20 victory over Kamiak last week.
“Three wins in three weeks by a total of six points,” Vincent said. “I told them each one of these is cutting about three years off of my life span. I’m thinking we are going to have to bring a defibrillator to the game because they are the ‘Kardiac Kids.’ It harkens me back to my childhood and the old Cleveland Browns were the ‘Cardiac Kids.’ It seemed like every game they played came down to the wire.
“Heck, with the generation difference my guys might not even know who the ‘Kardiac Kids’ were. But they seemed to like it and thought it was pretty funny.”
It was easy to laugh when the game was over. But it isn’t likely Vincent and his team were doing much laughing during the game. For a second straight week, the Timberwolves lit up the scoreboard in the first half, only to be shut down in the second.
The first quarter was a defensive battle, but the Timberwolves’ potent passing attack came alive in the second quarter.
It all started, though, with a play out of the Wildcat formation. Trey Robinson lined up at quarterback on a fourth-and-two and took a direct snap 45 yards for the game’s first touchdown.
The Timberwolves forced Mariner into a four-and-out and went right back to work when Conor Plaisance found Kenyan Foster for a 39-yard touchdown to give Jackson a 14-0 lead.
Plaisance finished the game 27-of-44 passes for 436 yards and four touchdowns, but had three turnovers that helped keep Mariner in the game. The first came on Jackson’s next possession when Plaisance was intercepted by Kiante Ahmad-Woods, who returned the ball 38 yards for the Marauders’ first score.
“It’s obviously disappointing to let them back in after we had taken a lead,” Plaisance said. “But I will take credit for that because most of those turnovers were on me. I’m glad our team was able to battle back.”
Plaisance too battled back. The first snap he took after throwing the interception to Ahmad-Woods was a slant to Alek Baumgartner — the play went for 80 yards and another Jackson touchdown.
The Marauders’ offense finally came to life on the next drive thanks to a steady dose of Josh Williamson. Williamson carried the ball seven times on the 12-play drive that culminated in a Tommy Duong 11-yard touchdown pass from Dan Nadat with 59 seconds left in the half. The Marauders went for two, but Williamson’s run came up short.
The bigger problem for Mariner was the amount of time that Jackson was left with. It took the Timberwolves just three plays and they were back in the end zone. This time it was a 41-yard touchdown reception by Baumgartner from Plaisance giving Jackson a 28-12 lead at the half.
But Mariner was far from out of the game. The Marauders were more balanced offensively in the second half, though Williamson still shouldered most of the load and put up the game’s next two touchdowns to cut the deficit to just 28-25 early in the fourth quarter.
Williamson finished the game with 78 yards on 22 carries.
Plaisance had his team driving down the field for what looked like it would be another touchdown when another turnover cost the Timberwolves. Rolling to his left, Plaisance was hit by Malcolm Manson and lost the football. It was immediately scooped up by Williamson, who ran uncontested 72 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. After the extra point, the Marauders had their first lead at 32-28.
“We’ve got to get better in that regard and come out ready to play in the second half (of the season),” Vincent said. “We’ve got to take better care of the football.”
Plaisance though, like he did after he threw his first interception, remained calm and drove his team down the field for the winning score. The Timberwolves needed just eight plays to drive 80 yards, capped off by a 57-yard touchdown pass from Plaisance to Trey Robinson.
“I can’t really think about anything (in that situation), Plaisance said. “I just tried to clear my mind and relax out there and hopefully things will go our way if we play the way that we can.
“I was confident that we would score.”
In successive weeks, the Timberwolves knocked off arguably three of the top teams in the Wesco 4A South, but Vincent said his team still has to get better down the stretch.
“We may be flat and we may turn the ball over, but there is no quit and there is no give up in this team,” Vincent said. “This team plays hard and they care. So in that respect I am proud, but as we come down the stretch here, we have got to get better.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at email@example.com.
At Goddard Stadium
Jack-Trey Robinson 45 run (Michael Zeng kick)
Jack-Kenyan Foster 39 pass from Conor Plaisance (Zeng kick)
Mar-Kiante Ahmad-Woods 38 interception return (kick failed)
Jack-Alek Baumgartner 80 pass from Plaisance (Zeng kick)
Mar-Tommy Duong 11 pass from Dan Nadat (run failed)
Jack-Baumgartner 41 pass from Plaisance (Zeng kick)
Mar-Josh Williamson 4 run (pass failed)
Mar-Williamson 4 run (Malcolm Manson kick)
Mar-Williamson 72 fumble return (Manson kick)
Jack-Trey Robinson 57 pass from Plaisance (Zeng kick)
Records- Jackson -3-0 league, 5-1 overall; Mariner 2-1, 4-2