By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
TACOMA — It certainly wasn’t the ending that Lake Stevens had in mind.
All the magic that placed the Vikings in the Class 4A state football tournament semifinal against Skyview was gone when the Vikings fell 38-14 on Saturday.
The Storm move on to face Skyline at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday for the state championship.
The Vikings had been a team that had made all the plays in big moments this season to get to this point. Saturday night, it was the Storm which made all the plays.
Trouble began on the Vikings’ first play from scrimmage. Quarterback Jake Nelson completed a pass to Quincy Carroll, who fumbled and the Storm recovered. The turnover eventually led to Skyview’s first touchdown and an early 7-0 lead.
In the second quarter, the Vikings had a chance to tie the score.They drove deep into Skyview territory, only to lose the ball on another fumble. Again, Skyview turned the Vikings’ mistake into points, taking a 14-0 lead.
“We made some uncharacteristic mistakes to start the game off,” Lake Stevens coach Tom Tri said. “The opening drive, first play we get nine yards and then fumble the ball and give them 7-0 right off the bat and it was kind of an uphill battle from there.
“We could just never figure out how to get the momentum on our side.”
The Storm added another touchdown later in the second quarter to take a 21-0 lead.
But the Vikings stayed resilient, finally getting on the scoreboard with 10 seconds remaining in the first half on a 14-yard-touchdown pass from Nelson to Brady Pahukoa. The Vikings had no timeouts remaining when Pahukoa caught the ball at the 3-yard-line and bulled his way into the end zone with extra effort.
Whatever momentum Pahukoa’s catch brought the Vikings, Skyview made sure it was short-lived. The Storm drove 73 yards for a touchdown to open the second half, quarterback Kieran McDonagh capping the drive with a 1-yard keeper.
“They get the ball after halftime and we get them in a third-and-long situation, third-and-12 I think it was, and they get a 13-yard gain and they ended up scoring on that drive,” Tri said. “That made it 28-7 and they had the momentum again. We just could never find a way to get the momentum.
Tri added that “you’ve got to give (the Storm) all the credit. They didn’t make mistakes tonight and they were very physical up front and they played a good game and they deserved to win.”
Nelson completed 26 of 41 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns for the Vikings, but also threw two interceptions. Christian Gasca (eight receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown) and Brady Pahukoa (nine receptions, 76 yards and a touchdown) were Nelson’s favorite targets.
The game, however, belonged to McDonagh, who completed 22 of his 31 passes for 340 yards and two touchdowns. McDonagh also added two rushing touchdowns.
The Vikings’ uncharacteristic turnovers and inability to move the ball offensively proved to be too much for Lake Stevens to overcome. Tri said he only wished that Skyview would have seen the Vikings at their best.
“I wish we would have given them our best, I didn’t feel like we did, but maybe that’s because they are a good football team and they forced us into uncharacteristic mistakes.”
Despite the loss, Tri praised his football team for all they had accomplished this season.
“We are going to focus on the positives in the locker room. There is no reason to dwell on the negatives right now, we aren’t playing next week,” Tri said. “We had a great season, obviously it doesn’t feel very good right now, but when these guys look back in a week or two I think they are going to be dang proud of the season that they had.
“I know I am. I’m very proud to be the head football coach at Lake Stevens.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Read his live blogs at www.heraldnet.com/prepzone, follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at email@example.com.
At Tacoma Dome
Lake Stevens0707— 14
Skyview—Henry 1 run (Shuh kick)
Skyview—Henderson from McDonagh (Shuh kick)
Skyview—McDonagh 27 run (Shuh kick)
Lake Stevens—Pahukoa 14 pass from Nelson (Sellars kick)
Skyview—McDonagh 1 run (Shuh kick)
Skyview—Russell 16 pass from McDonagh (Shuh kick)
Lake Stevens—Gasca 9 pass from Nelson (Sellars kick)
Skyview—FG Shuh 31
Records—Skyview 11-2 overall, Lake Stevens 12-1