By Aaron Swaney Herald Writer
EDMONDS — Drew Wright threw for 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns and the Stanwood Spartans overcame four first half turnovers to beat Mountlake Terrace 29-13 in Dave Telford’s debut as the Spartans head coach.
“It’s always great to get a W,” Telford said after the game. “You never know when they’re going to come. I’m very happy. I told those kids ‘I’m so proud of you.’ Everything I asked them to do they did tonight.”
After a sloppy first few possessions by both teams, Stanwood struck first near the end of the first quarter when Wright hit Connor Chitwood on a 30-yard touchdown pass. It was Wright’s third straight completion after throwing his first interception of the season on the prior possession.
“I expect him to learn from the mistakes and he seemed to do that as the game went along,” Telford said of Wright.
After forcing a Mountlake Terrace punt, Wright went back to business. On the first play from scrimmage, Wright connected with Laurence Wanambisi on a 40-yard touchdown pass to give the Spartans a 13-0 lead. Wright and Wanambisi would connect later on a 35-yard pass play that set up Stanwood’s third score later in the second quarter.
Stanwood’s defense did a solid job, especially in the first half. The Spartans forced and recovered two fumbles, forced the Hawks to punt three times and turn the ball over on downs two other times in the first half.
“We wanted to come out and play physical,” Telford said. “If we were going to give up yards on defense we were going to put hats on the ballcarrier and make them the most painful 5, 10, 15 yards they’ve ever got. The kids did that on defense and they played their hearts out.”
Mountlake Terrace would keep it close with touchdown runs by Eni Klosi in the second quarter and a 4-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Lacasse in the third, but five turnovers was too much to overcome for the Hawks, who lost in their first game without star running back/linebacker Devante Downs.
The teams were both rusty in their season opener as they combined for nine turnovers and there could have been more. In a key sequence late in the second quarter, Stanwood’s Chad Niven fumbled the ball into the end zone, where the Spartans recovered for a touchdown.
Stanwood had two fumbles and two interceptions in the first half, giving some Spartans’ fans flashbacks to last year. But Stanwood buckled down in the second half and took care of the ball.
“That’s a big thing we talked about coming out of last year,” Telford said. “We knew we needed to take care of the football to be the team we wanted to be. We got some of those things corrected.”
Mountlake Terrace’s Chance Ragsdale rushed for 102 yards to lead the Hawks.
At Edmonds District Stadium
Stanwood 7 13 3 6 — 29
Terrace 0 6 7 0 — 13
S—Chitwood 30 pass from Wright (Esary kick)
S—Wanambisi 40 pass from Wright (kick failed)
MT—Klosi 36 run (kick failed)
S—Fumble recovery in end zone (Esary kick)
S—Esary 29 field goal
MT—Lacasse 4 pass from Hopkins (Jensen kick)
S—Hood 1 run (kick failed)
Records—Stanwood 1-0 overall. Mountlake Terrace 0-1.