By Jon Saperstein Herald Writer
EDMONDS — Malcolm Johnson was not on the Mountlake Terrace football team’s roster during its season-opening 29-13 loss to Stanwood.
With the playoffs on the line Friday night at Edmonds Stadium, the ball was in Johnson’s hands and the Hawks held on for a 24-17 victory over those same Spartans.
“Johnson played a really big role in our win,” Terrace senior running back Chance Ragsdale said. “I honestly think we couldn’t have done it without him. He was a big part of our game.”
Ragsdale led the Hawks with 196 rushing yards, three touchdowns and 31 carries, but Johnson, who joined the team midway through the season after transferring from Texas, had his first 100-yard rushing game and the game-clinching carry.
With under two minutes to play and the Hawks facing third-and-2, coach Tony Umayam went with the bigger, stronger Johnson rather than the speedy, slashy Ragsdale and the junior picked up the first down to seal the victory.
The Hawks earned the No. 6 district seed and travel to Mountain View next week.
“This is my second time being in the playoffs it’s really great,” Ragsdale said. “Words can’t explain how happy I am.”
Stanwood owned the second half after rushing for negative yards in the first half. Senior quarterback Drew Wright started hot, but threw six consecutive incompletions on a 1-for-10 stretch that included an interception. Stanwood produced the only score of the second half, a 16-yard pass from Chad Niven to Laurence Wanambisi.
In the second half, the Hawk offense mostly sputtered and Ragsdale lost a fumble, which was very different than the early going.
After getting stuffed for no yards and a three-and-out on their first possession, the Hawks recovered a bad handoff on the Spartans’ second play from scrimmage. The Hawks needed 11 plays from the Stanwood 42, including the final four from the 1-yard line, but Ragsdale waltzed in on fourth-and-inches to give Terrace a 7-0 edge.
Stanwood had a quick three-and-out before the Hawks struck again. This time Ragsdale scored from 27 yards out to make it 14-0 with 9:20
Stanwood stopped the bleeding quickly when Wright hit a wide open Wanambisi at midfield on the next play from scrimmage. Wanambisi raced 74 yards for the score, making it 14-7.
In the first half, the Spartans’ defense could not stop the run thanks to Johnson and Ragsdale, and Terrace struck again, this time Ragsdale scoring on a 34-yard outburst on a sweep down the left sideline.
Stanwood tried to answer with its first real drive of the game. Wright moved the ball down the field passing but was picked off in the end zone by Ryan Lacasse with 4:32 to go in the half. Ragsdale had a 59-yard run on third-and-12 from the Terrace 13 to set up a Mike Jenson field goal with 18 seconds to go.
What seemed like a routine kickoff before the end of the half changed quickly when the return ended up in the Hawks’ bench, where the officials signaled a personal foul, then added two unsportsmanlike-conduct fouls. The 45 yards of accumulated penalties set up a 32-yard field goal by Stanwood’s Alex Esary as time expired in the half to make the score 24-10.
At Edmonds Stadium
Stanwood 0 10 0 7 — 17
Mountlake Terrace 7 17 0 0 — 24
M—Chance Ragsdale 1 run ( Michael Jenson kick)
M—Ragsdale 27 run (Jenson kick)
S—Laurence Wanambisi 74 pass from Drew Wright (Alex Esary kick)
M—Ragsdale 34 run (Jenson kick)
M—Jenson 24 FG
S—Esary 32 FG
S—Wanambisi 16 pass from Chad Niven (Esary kick)
Records: Stanwood (3-6 overall); Terrace (5-4)