SNOHOMISH — Lake Stevens football coach Tom Tri approached his senior wideout Anthony Hutchinson before Friday’s game against Glacier Peak and made clear this night was going to belong to him.
“I told him before the game, ‘Dude, the plan is to get you the ball,’ ” Tri said. “Last week was (Austin) Murren as you kind of ease back in, but this is your week, and you’re going to get opportunities to make plays.’ Well, he made just about every opportunity he had tonight.”
Hutchinson returned last week from a four-game absence after suffering a dislocated knee sustained during a preseason jamboree. Tri estimated his pass-catcher was playing at 85 percent.
Not this week. Not against the Grizzlies. The Vikings called Hutchinson’s number early and often as quarterback Conor Bardue and Hutchinson connected for chunk play after chunk play. Backup running back Tom Lewis ran for four touchdowns, and the Vikings rolled to a 63-14 Wesco 4A win over the Grizzlies at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Hutchinson recorded 206 receiving yards on eight catches and regularly set up touchdowns with receptions of 28, 38, 48 and 59 yards — many of the acrobatic variety. Bardue was impressive himself, completing 18-of-23 passes for 305 yards and three touchdowns, including one rushing score.
“I was hungry to play,” Hutchinson said. “I can’t tell you how much (Bardue and I) have been together this offseason — 7-on-7 on the same team, five times a week throwing. It’s been a great help.”
That was evident, and Lake Stevens (5-1 overall, 4-0 Wesco 4A) showcased tremendous balance with Lewis handling rushing duties. The junior running back ran for 172 yards and his four scores on 17 carries behind a dominant offensive line.
Despite the lopsided score, Glacier Peak (3-3, 2-2) hung with the Vikings through the first quarter. But Grizzlies quarterback Ayden Ziomas, who was 12-of-25 for 156 yards and threw and ran for a score, faced constant pressure all night, and the pressure eventually wore down the Grizzlies’ offense.
Vikings defensive end Matt Sevao, who broke Lake Stevens’ single-season sack record with 15 last fall, sacked Ziomas four times.
“We had to contain the quarterback more,” Sevao said. “Their quarterback is a great player, (a) dual threat. He’s fast and likes to move around, so we had to do a good job of keeping him in the pocket, and we really fixed that in the second half.”
Lake Stevens’ big plays started from its first offensive snap.
Lewis took a handoff 44 yards right up the middle for a touchdown that gave the Vikings a 7-0 lead with 10 minutes, 15 seconds to play in the first quarter.
Glacier Peak responded with its best drive of the night. Ziomas capped off a 65-yard touchdown drive with a read-option keeper around the right side of the line for a 4-yard score that tied the game at 7-7 with 6:55 left in the first quarter.
Lewis’ second touchdown put the Vikings back in front less than two minutes later. Lewis took a pitch around the left side from one yard out for a touchdown, but the 80-yard, five-play drive was highlighted by a 59-yard deep pass to Hutchinson, who caught four passes for 117 yards in the first half.
Lake Stevens finished its 21-point first quarter with Lewis’ third rushing score. And again a Bardue connection to Hutchinson keyed the drive — this time a 38-yard strike to set up an 8-yard Lewis rushing touchdown.
Glacier Peak kept hanging around, and a 40-yard touchdown pass from Ziomas to Bo Burns cut the Grizzlies’ deficit to 21-14 with eight seconds to play in the first quarter.
Eighty yards and 1:33 later, Lake Stevens was back in the end zone. Lewis did most of the heavy lifting, ripping off runs of 14, 26 and 27 yards, but Austin Calvin finished off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown plunge right up the middle.
“Tom Lewis ran hard tonight,” Tri said, “and really he’s our third-string running back, because our top two are still out. Hopefully they will come back next week, and because Tom has been doing such a great job, now we have a three-headed monster.”
The crucial blow came on the Vikings’ following series. Lake Stevens was facing a fourth-and-18 on Glacier Peak’s 33-yard line when Bardue found Ian Hanson to the right on a wide receiver screen. Hanson found an alleyway and dashed 33 yards to the end zone untouched, extending Lake Stevens’ lead to 35-14.
Bardue gave Lake Stevens a 42-14 lead early in the third quarter with a 17-yard touchdown run. The senior quarterback kept the ball on a read-option, beat contain around the left side and ran through a defender at the goal line.
Lewis scored his fourth touchdown — a 2-yard run with 10:27 to go in the fourth quarter —and Austin Lucas returned an interception 35 yards for a score to get Lake Stevens to 63 points with 1:04 to play in the game.