EVERETT — The Jackson Timberwolves had to deal with Edmonds-Woodway’s Junior Opoku-Mensah and Mac McLachlan a week ago.
Friday night they got a heavy dose of Kamiak’s Austin Hall.
The senior running back returned after missing two games because of injury and rushed for 239 yards on 27 carries and scored two touchdowns to lead the Knights to a 35-20 win over Jackson.
“It really puts us on the radar,” Hall said. “It shows the teams that we can come out to play and we can step up. We can hang with the best of them and we’re just as good as anyone in the state.”
The Knights stayed undefeated in Wesco 4A South play and kept pace with Edmonds-Woodway, which beat Cascade 28-14 Friday night. Kamiak and E-W square off next Friday at Goddard Stadium in a game that could ultimately decide the conference championship.
“You want to build momentum as you go through the season,” Kamiak coach Dan Mack said. “Edmonds-Woodway’s a terrific program and team. We’re going to have to back and get to work, but a conference win is always big.”
After a 2-0 start, it was the third consecutive loss (second in league play) for Jackson, the preseason favorite in the coaches’ poll.
Kamiak set the tone early behind Hall. The Knights drove 65 yards on eight plays on the game’s opening possession to take a 6-0 lead. Senior Tyler Webley got the touchdown on a 4-yard run, but Hall did most of the work, rushing for 53 yards on six carries in the drive.
“He plays with a tremendous amount of fire and he’s got great vision as a back,” Mack said of Hall. “He had a big night tonight.”
The Knights forced Jackson to punt on its opening possession and Joseph Binda nearly returned it for another Kamiak touchdown. Jackson’s touchdown-saving tackle proved costly to the Knights, who turned the ball over on the next play when quarterback Tyler Becker couldn’t handle a high snap out of the shotgun.
Jackson failed to take advantage of the gift, again going three-and-out.
Nine offensive plays later, Kamiak was back in the end zone, this time with Hall scoring from 3 yards out.
The Timberwolves had gotten little going offensively in the first quarter and switched from quarterback Wesley Love — who started the game — to Alex Cheesman early in the second period.
The move paid off immediately.
The Kamiak defense was caught off guard when Cheesman faked a pass and handed the ball to Nick White, who ran 64 yards to give the Timberwolves their first touchdown.
Kamiak answered behind their workhorse, Hall, who carried the ball eight times on the next drive, highlighted by a 13-yard touchdown run.
Jackson had two more opportunities to add points before halftime, but kicker Michael Zeng missed field goals from 44 and 37 yards.
Things continued to get worse for Jackson in the second half. The Knights stopped the Timberwolves on three straight plays, forcing Jackson to punt again. Binda broke off another long return and would not be held out of the end zone a second time, going 64 yards for the touchdown.
White scored on a 3-yard touchdown run on Jackson’s next possession to cut the deficit to 14 again, but Kamiak came back with a 14 play, 80-yard drive that culminated in a 1-yard touchdown run by Webley on fourth-and-goal that all but sealed the game.
Mack said this week’s victory started in practice.
“The preparation this week of our kids was perfect,” Mack said. “They wanted this win. It’s been a couple years since they’ve beaten Jackson. I thought they prepared well and it showed tonight.”
Hall left the game early in the fourth quarter with an injury. He walked off the field under his own power but did not return to the game.
White was a bright spot for Jackson, rushing for 158 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries.
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Everett Memorial Stadium
K—Tyler Webley 4 run (kick failed)
K—Austin Hall 3 run (Hall run)
J—Nick White 64 run (Michael Zeng kick)
K—Hall 13 run (Nicholas Menghini kick)
K—Joseph Binda 64 punt return (Menghini kick)
J—White 3 run (Zeng kick)
K—Webley 1 run (Menghini kick)
J—Alek Baumgartner 29 pass from Alex Cheesman (kick failed)
Records – Kamiak 2-0 league, 4-1 overall. Jackson 0-2, 2-3.