Marysville Pilchuck quarterback Jake Elwood carries the ball during a 3A state quarterfinal against Lincoln on Saturday at the Lincoln Bowl in Tacoma. (Stacy Tyler/Intensity Sports Photography)

Marysville Pilchuck quarterback Jake Elwood carries the ball during a 3A state quarterfinal against Lincoln on Saturday at the Lincoln Bowl in Tacoma. (Stacy Tyler/Intensity Sports Photography)

3A state football: Lincoln ends MP’s storybook season

Marysville Pilchuck suffers its first loss of the year, 56-21, to the Abes in a quarterfinal game.

TACOMA — After a lopsided loss to Lincoln on Saturday, the members of the Marysville Pilchuck High School football team weren’t dwelling on the season-ending defeat.

Rather, they focused on the legacy the 2019 Tomahawks left behind.

Marysville Pilchuck couldn’t overcome’s Lincoln’s collection of NCAA Division-I prospects and fell in the Class 3A state quarterfinals, 56-21, at the Lincoln Bowl in Tacoma. The loss was the first of the season for the Tomahawks (11-1).

“There’s no way that loss can define what we did this year,” senior tailback Jordan Justice said. “I mean, we made school history going 11-0. No other team in school history has gone 11-0. It’ll always be a mark on the school and this game doesn’t define this season. I mean, it was a tough loss but we played hard. They were just a good team.”

Lincoln’s roster includes four of the top 55 seniors in the state, according to 247Sports.

What this year’s collection of Marysville Pilchuck players can hang their helmets on — especially the seniors — is the turn around they engineered over the past three years. After three consecutive Wesco 3A North championships from 2012-2014, the Tomahawks (11-1) did not post a winning record for three years before eventually breaking through with a 7-3 mark last season.

A dominant regular season in 2019, in which the Tomahawks won all nine games by an average of 30 points and scored a dramatic overtime win over Prairie in the first round of the state playoffs, cemented the 2019 M-P squad as one of the most successful in school history.

“It’s hard to say (what their legacy is), but gosh I’ll miss them,” Tomahawks head coach Brandon Carson said. “They’ve set us forward quite a ways. Just the group of people that they are. They’re good people, they’re good students, they’re good athletes and I love them to death and I’ll miss them.”

The Tomahawks will graduate a number of key players, including Justice, an all-conference running back, all-conference wide receiver and defensive back Dillon Kuk, all-conference offensive lineman Justin Albee, and quarterback Jake Elwood. But Marysville Pilchuck also returns a considerable amount of talent, including Dylan Carson, a 1,000-yard rusher, and Jay Gray in the backfield, and Nate Elwood on the offensive line.

Things got off to a poor start for the Tomahawks on Saturday. Lincoln’s first play from scrimmage was Caden Filer’s 56-yard touchdown pass to Julien Simon that put the Abes up 7-0 just 22 seconds into the game.

Marysville Pilchuck went three-and-out on its first possession, and although Justice intercepted a deep pass from Filer on the Abes’ next possession, Lincoln’s Jeddiah Hayes intercepted a tipped ball at the line of scrimmage and returned the ball 56 yards for a touchdown to put the Abes up 14-0 with 8:04 in the first quarter.

Simon, rated a four-star athlete by 247sports for the Class of 2021, caught another touchdown pass on a long catch-and-run, this one a 49-yarder, to put Lincoln up 21-0.

The Tomahawks did not roll over, though.

Justice scored from 24 yards out to put the Tomahawks on the board just before the first quarter ended. After a turnover forced by Marysville Pilchuck’s defense, Justice broke off a 53-yard run on the first play of the drive to cut the Abes’ lead to 21-14.

The two teams traded scores before Simon caught his third touchdown pass of the game with 1:01 remaining in the half to put the Abes up 35-21.

An unfortunate sequence put the Tomahawks back even further. A three-and-out followed by an inadvertent kneel down by Marysville Pilchuck’s punter at the Tomahawks’ 13-yard line gave Lincoln another chance to strike before halftime.

The Abes cashed in with 6.1 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Josiah Snow-Marshal just barely kept his feet in bounds and snagged a 13-yard touchdown pass from Filer in the back of the end zone, giving Lincoln a 42-21 advantage going into halftime.

Despite the disappointing final score, Brandon Carson was happy with his team’s effort.

“I knew we’d play hard,” the coach said. “A lot of things had to go our way. This (Lincoln) is a really good team and we were going to fight until the end. I knew that from the get-go and that’s what we did. We just ran into a pretty good team.”

The Abes (10-2) advanced to the state semifinals for the first time in school history. They will face No. 2 Eastside Catholic in the semifinals.

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