MARYSVILLE — Seattle Mariners legend Edgar Martinez had ‘The Double.’
Marysville Pilchuck’s Edgar Martinez can lay claim to ‘The Kick.’
With the Marysville Pilchuck High School football team’s season on the line in the most pressure-packed of moments, Martinez coolly drilled a game-tying 39-yard field goal as time expired to force overtime.
Dylan Carson then ran for a go-ahead touchdown in the extra period and the Tomahawks’ defense came up with a fourth-down stop to give No. 6 seed Marysville Pilchuck a wild 37-30 overtime win over No. 11 seed Prairie in a Class 3A first-round state playoff game Friday night at Quil Ceda Stadium.
“I’m just so elated right now,” Tomahawks coach Brandon Carson said moments after his team’s dramatic win. “That was one heck of a football game. A back-and-forth battle. … It was amazing. Absolutely amazing.”
With the victory, Marysville Pilchuck (11-0) advanced to the state quarterfinals for the fourth time in program history and the first time since 2014. The Tomahawks will travel next week to face No. 3 seed Lincoln, which beat No. 14 seed Seattle Prep 49-28 in its opening-round matchup Friday night.
“We fight till the end,” Marysville Pilchuck senior Jordan Justice said. “We’re going to fight until that time is out. … I have a loss of words for it, honestly. I can’t believe we just won that.”
With the Tomahawks clinging to a 27-22 lead with less than one minute to play, Prairie dual-threat quarterback A.J. Dixson scrambled for a first down on 4th-and-5 to keep the Falcons’ hopes alive.
On the very next play, Dixson connected over the middle with Ian Davis, who fought his way into the end zone for a go-ahead 21-yard touchdown with 25 seconds to play. Prairie (9-2) then added a 2-point conversion to stretch its lead to 30-27.
However, a personal-foul penalty on the touchdown celebration moved the ensuing kickoff back to the 25-yard line.
“When I saw that they had a 15-yard penalty, I knew that we had a chance with Edgar,” Carson said. “I had three timeouts — I knew I had at least five plays to give us a chance to get Edgar in field-goal range and tie the game up.”
The Tomahawks did just that.
Prairie’s ensuing squib kick was snagged by one of Marysville Pilchuck’s players at the Falcons’ 36-yard line, setting up the Tomahawks with excellent field position. Marysville Pilchuck moved the ball to the Prairie 12, but a sack pushed it back to the 22-yard line with five seconds to play.
The Tomahawks then put their season on the foot of their senior kicker.
“We have all the confidence in the world in him,” Carson said. “If he’s inside 40 (yards) and we get a good snap, it’s going to be good.”
Martinez came in and booted the overtime-forcing 39-yarder, splitting the uprights to send Marysville Pilchuck and its fans into pandemonium.
“That (was) insane,” Justice said. “We were praying on the sideline, and he came through. He’s a great kicker. We knew we had a chance, so we just let him do his thing. And he did it.”
Marysville Pilchuck got the ball first in the extra period and quickly fell behind the chains with a nine-yard sack on first down. Facing 4th-and-14 a few plays later, the Tomahawks were in danger of being held scoreless on their overtime possession.
But Marysville Pilchuck quarterback Jake Elwood lofted a pass to the end zone that drew a pass-interference call, resulting in an automatic first down.
Four plays after that, Carson ran for a 2-yard score to give Marysville Pilchuck a 37-30 lead.
The Tomahawks then came up with a defensive stop on Prairie’s overtime possession, tackling Dixson several yards short of the marker on a 4th-and-5 scramble to seal the victory. The game-ending tackle sent players and fans storming the field in celebration.
“Defense wins playoff games, and it showed right there,” Carson said. “We needed a stop (and) we got it.”
The crazy finish — which included four lead changes in the fourth quarter and overtime — was the capper to a wild game that was played with thick fog blanketing the field for much of the night.
On their opening drive, the Wesco 3A champion Tomahawks converted a pair of fourth downs during a lengthy first-quarter scoring march. Marysville Pilchuck capped it with a reverse to receiver Dillon Kuk, who ran around the left side for a 22-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
Prairie, making its first state appearance since 1992, answered on the following possession. Dustin Shelby took a 3rd-and-22 option pitch and raced down the right sideline for a 54-yard gain, setting up a 7-yard touchdown run from Devante Clayton.
The Greater St. Helens League 3A champion Falcons drove to the Marysville Pilchuck 30 in the second quarter, but the Tomahawks struck with a pivotal two-play swing. Kuk intercepted a third-down pass and Justice broke a 70-yard touchdown run on the very next play, extending Marysville Pilchuck’s lead to 14-6.
That remained the score until early in the third quarter, when Davis blocked a punt out of the end zone for a Prairie safety.
Soon after, the Tomahawks answered with two key plays from Justice. The two-way senior intercepted a pass on defense, then ran for an 8-yard touchdown on a reverse to stetch Marysville Pilchuck’s lead to 21-8.
Late in the third quarter, Dixson rolled right on fourth down and found a wide-open Nickolas Lawhead through heavy fog for a 15-yard touchdown pass.
The Tomahawks opened the fourth quarter by losing a fumble, and Dixson connected with a wide-open Dustin Shelby on the next play for a 64-yard touchdown pass. Dixson ran in the ensuing 2-point conversion to give Prairie a 22-21 edge.
Marysville Pilchuck reclaimed the lead on its next drive, which Elwood capped with a go-ahead 2-yard quarterback sneak to make it 27-22 with 5:20 to play.
Prairie then drove downfield and took back the lead with its last-minute touchdown, but the Tomahawks rallied for an overtime victory to extend their success-filled season.
The state quarterfinal appearance marks a massive turnaround for a Marysville Pilchuck program that just two years ago endured a two-win campaign with a youth-filled roster.
“It means a lot for us,” Carson said. “And this senior class, I get at least one more week with them — hopefully a couple more.”