By Jon Saperstein Herald Writer
LAKE STEVENS — The Lake Stevens football team is not used to starting a season 0-2. Friday night the Vikings stared down the possibility of going 0-3, but rebuffed a surging Oak Harbor team to secure a 14-13 home victory.
It took a bit of luck — whether it was good or bad luck depends on where you stand in this purple-and-gold battle — in the form of an errant fourth-quarter extra point, but the Vikings (1-2 overall) celebrated their first triumph of the season before entering Wesco 4A North play next week at Monroe.
“That was huge,” Vikings senior captain Gavin O’Neil said. “We needed to win there. We’ll take anything to get our momentum rolling.
“We’ll take this confidence into our conference.”
Oak Harbor (2-1) rolled into the game riding a wing-T attack that helped them trip up Arlington last week, the 3A team’s second win this season against a 4A opponent.
“They scared us,” Lake Stevens coach Tom Tri said. “Watching them on film, that’s a good football team right there.”
Oak Harbor quarterback Clay Doughty threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Dyllan Harris with 3:33 to play in the game, but the missed extra-point left the Wildcats trailing 14-13. The Lake Stevens offense sputtered to a three-and-out and the Wildcats got the ball back at their own 47. But Doughty was sacked on fourth down, setting off the Vikings’ victory celebration.
“Our defense played tremendous,” O’Neil said. “We gave up one touchdown all game. We won by our defense.”
The defense only gave up one score because the other Oak Harbor touchdown came thanks to a fumble that was returned for a touchdown in the third quarter.
Trailing 14-0 at half, the Wildcats took the opening kick and put together their most impressive drive of the game. Oak Harbor went 15 plays in 6 minutes, 36 seconds to the Viking 9-yard line only to be stuffed on fourth-and-2.
But three plays later, Austin Otis, who ran for 87 yards on 17 carries, fumbled. Oak Harbor’s Sheynne Sams recovered and returned the ball 36 yards for the touchdown, making the score 14-7.
Most everyone on the field — especially Otis — thought his knee was down and stopped as Sams raced into the end zone untouched.
“He’s one of the most honest kids I’ve had in my 15 years at Lake Stevens and he was very upset on the sideline that his knee was down,” Tri said of his running back. “But I don’t know, I didn’t really see it.
“Bottom line is we’ve got to take care of the ball. We have to do a better job (on turnovers).”
Lake Stevens quarterback Jacob Eason completed just one of his first seven passes, but his one completion fell into O’Neil’s hands for a 46-yard touchdown in the first quarter,
The first half was mostly a puntfest, with the first three possessions ending in kicks. Oak Harbor’s second possession ended with an interception before the Vikings’ first touchdown. The defenses dominated most of the rest of the half as the teams exchanged five more punts.
With 1:23 to play in the second quarter and the Vikings on their own 15-yard line, it looked as if the home team might be happy with a lead at the break.
Tri had other ideas.
“We are trying to score,” he said. “Especially in the first half. We are trying to instill in our kids that any given play we are going to break one.”
Eason got hot, completing five consecutive passes — covering 4, 34, 17 26 and 2 yards. The last pass went to O’Neil on a screen into the end zone. The drive was six plays and 85 yards in just over 40 seconds and gave the Vikings all the points they would need. Eason finished 9-for-16 for 157 yards and two touchdowns.
Oak Harbor boasted two 100-yard rushers, Sams and Julian Faralan.
At Lake Stevens H.S.
Oak Harbor 0 0 7 6 — 13
Lake Stevens 7 7 0 0 — 14
L—Gavin O’Neil 46 pass from Jacob Eason (Ignacio Ponce kick)
L—O’Neil 2 pass from Eason (Ponce kick)
O—Sheynne Sams 36 fumble return (Mark Johnston kick)
O—Dyllan Harris 9 pass from Clay Doughty (kick failed)
Records: Oak Harbor 2-1 overall; Lake Stevens 1-2