EDMONDS — A blocked punt for a Kamiak touchdown put Edmonds-Woodway in a first-half hole on Friday night.
Wide receiver Lee Anderson got the Warriors right back out.
Anderson, a 5-foot-9, 160-pound senior, made a highlight-film reception in the final seconds of the first half to turn Edmonds-Woodway’s apparent three-point halftime deficit into a 14-10 lead at the break, and the Warriors held off the stubborn Knights in the second half for a 28-16 Wesco 4A South football victory at Edmonds District Stadium.
Anderson’s first of two TD catches — he had another in the third quarter — came with just two seconds to play before halftime. On third-and-8 from the Edmonds-Woodway 48, quarterback Davis Giles dropped back and then heaved the ball toward the end zone.
“I told Davis, ‘Just give (Anderson) a chance,’” said Warriors coach John Gradwohl. “If they intercept it, (no big deal).”
The ball came down inside the 10-yard line and it was perfect strike. But there were also three defensive backs around Anderson, who nonetheless managed to catch the ball in a crowd and then elude the defenders to reach the end zone.
“I knew it was the last play before half, so I wanted to try my hardest,” Anderson said. “I just ran my route as fast as I could, got down the field, kept my eye on the ball the whole time and just watched it into my arms. And after that I just ran it into the end zone.”
“To beat a good team like Kamiak, somebody has to step up and make some big plays,” Gradwohl said. “If you don’t have that, you’re probably not going to win. … But Lee did that.”
Kamiak’s defense, meanwhile, was ready for the last-second long pass. “We had the right call, we were right there with three guys, but he just came up with it,” said Knights coach Dan Mack. “I don’t know how that ball got in there, but that kid made a play.”
It was, Mack added, “a tough one to swallow right before halftime.”
Edmonds-Woodway padded its lead in the third quarter with Anderson’s second scoring catch, this one covering 25 yards. Kamiak answered on its next possession with a 14-play, 60-yard touchdown march, with running back Austin Hall scoring on a fourth-and-goal carry from the 2-yard line.
The game marked the return of Edmonds-Woodway running back Desmond Young, a speedy and often explosive senior who has been out with a hamstring injury since the first half of the second game of the season more than a month ago. Young had modest yards in the first half, but gained 117 yards on 10 carries in the second half, including a 44-yard touchdown scamper with 4:47 to play to clinch the win.
“He didn’t run the ball real well in the first half,” Gradwohl said. “He missed holes, but he’s also been out for a month. … We need to get him going again.”
Afterward, both coaches seemed unhappy with the officiating. But if there were questionable calls in the game — and there certainly were — the last and most pivotal went against Kamiak.
With about five minutes to play and the Warriors leading 21-16, Kamiak knocked away a third-down pass from the Edmonds-Woodway 36. But instead of forcing a punt, the Knights were flagged for pass interference, leaving the Kamiak coaches incredulous.
“I saw two guys going for the ball and then the ball hit the turf,” Mack said. “That’s what I saw.”
Had there been no penalty, Kamiak likely would have got the ball back and had the chance for a game-winning touchdown drive. Instead, Edmonds-Woodway retained possession and Young scored three plays later on his long TD run.
“I feel good about where we are,” Gradwohl said, whose team improved to 4-2 overall, 2-1 in conference. “But we have Lynnwood and Mariner left (on the schedule) and I’ve seen both of them play. They’re both good, so I’m not looking past anybody.”
At Edmonds District Stadium
EW—Opoku-Mensah 7 run (Davis kick)
K—Jouett 22 FG
K—Thomas recover punt block in the end zone (Jouett kick)
EW—Anderson 52 pass from Giles (Davis kick)
EW—Anderson 25 pass from Giles (Davis kick)
K—Hall 2 run (pass failed)
EW—Young 44 run (Davis kick)
Records—Kamiak 1-2 league, 3-3 overall. Edmonds-Woodway 2-1, 4-2.