EVERETT — Making the first varsity start of his career — in his first season on the Edmonds-Woodway football team — senior Jason Smarr had Warriors’ head coach John Gradwohl wishing he had come over from the high school’s tennis team sooner.
Smarr had three touchdown catches, all of which came on plays longer than 40 yards, as Edmonds-Woodway defeated Kamiak 56-32 in a Wesco South 4A game Friday night at Frank Goddard Memorial Stadium.
The win gives the Warriors the inside track on the league title.
“Jason’s a basketball player, in his first year on the football team,” Gradwohl said. “We could see his potential. … I knew he’d make a couple big plays. The kid’s got hands.”
Smarr had touchdown catches of 45, 79 and 44 yards, and finished the game with four receptions for 186 yards.
He was Edmonds-Woodway quarterback Davis Giles’ favorite target, helping Giles finish 8-for-16 for 230 yards and four touchdowns. Gradwohl praised his senior quarterback for making big plays at the start of the game to get the Warriors off to a good start. Thanks to Smarr’s three touchdowns and a 10-yard score by Junior Opoku-Mensah, Edmonds-Woodway got out to a quick 28-0 lead over Kamiak.
“He ran the show,” Gradwohl said of Giles. “Some of the biggest plays were him. Throwing touchdowns, running for a first down. I am so proud of how he managed the game.
“And he threw some (darn) good passes tonight.”
The passes helped open up holes for the Edmonds-Woodway running game. The Warriors’ offensive wass fairly balanced with Edmonds-Woodway gaining 285 yards on the ground and 230 yards through the air.
“The only way to give us a chance and keep them honest is to take a shot,” Gradwohl said. “Then they brought two safeties which opened up the run. … That was the plan, running behind (all-conference lineman) Travis Bakken.”
Opoku-Mensah finished the game with 20 carries for 136 yards and two touchdowns. Theo Lebesis caught a 12-yard touchdown pass — Giles’ fourth — which capped a drive in the fourth quarter that took up half of the period.
Edmonds-Woodway remained perfect so far this season. With a 3-0 league record — and 6-0 overall record — the Warriors now control their own destiny in a tough Wesco 4A South.
“We’re in the driver’s seat,” Gradwohl said. “But I was saying I wish we could have played Lynnwood and Mariner five weeks ago. They’re playing good football now and we can’t overlook them.”
Kamiak hurt itself early and often in the contest. The Knights fumbled on their first offensive possession — leading to an Opoku-Mensah score — as well as the opening kickoff of the second half. Edmonds-Woodway’s Nick Venema recovered that fumble and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown, giving the Warriors a 35-6 lead eight seconds into the second half.
The Knights also were dealing with several injuries, including star running back Austin Hall, who didn’t play. Kamiak’s Tyler Webley had four carries for four yards before he was injured and helped off the field. He did not return and was on crutches on the Kamiak sideline for the second half.
“They’re a great team,” Gradwohl said. “As they get more reps, they’re only going to improve. They’re a dang strong team, losing the kids they lost before, probably, their biggest game of the season.”
Gradwohl was especially impressed with Knights running back Joseph Binda. The sophomore, filling in for Hall, ran 20 times for 157 yards and a touchdown.
“(Binda’s) a heck of a player,” Gradwohl said. “I’m going to wake up in the middle of the night with him running down the sidelines. They’re going to be just fine.”
With the game all but out of reach, Kamiak (2-1 league, 4-2 overall) added a pair of late scores in the final minutes. After Henderson Belk caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Becker, the Knights recovered an onside kick and drove down the field again, with Becker running in a touchdown from eight yards out.
But with 11 seconds remaining on the clock it was too little, too late for the Knights, who dropped their first conference game of the season.
At Goddard Stadium
Edmonds-Woodway 21 7 14 `4 — 56
Kamiak 0 6 12 14 — 32
E-W–Jason Smarr 45 pass from Davis Giles (Ebrima Fatty kick)
E-W–Junior Opoku-Mensah 10 run (Fatty kick)
E-W–Smarr 79 pass from Giles (Fatty kick)
E-W–Smarr 44 pass from Giles (Fatty kick)
K–Tyler Becker 1 run (kick blocked)
E-W–Nick Venema 20 fumble return (Fatty kick)
K–Emmett Flynn 2 run (run failed)
K–Joseph Binda 8 run (pass failed)
E-W–Opoku-Mensah 7 run (Fatty kick)
E-W–Theo Lebesis 12 pass from Giles (Fatty kick)
E-W–Chantz Justice 33 run (Fatty kick)
K–Henderson Belk 16 pass from Becker (Nicholas Menghini kick)
K–Becker 8 run (Menghini kick)
Records–Edmonds-Woodway 3-0 league, 6-0 overall. Kamiak 2-1, 4-2.