MOUNT VERNON — When people think about the Glacier Peak High School football team, their first thought is likely to be about the team’s high-powered offense. However, on Friday night it was Glacier Peak’s defense that carried the Grizzlies to the No. 2 seed in Wesco 4A.
On an evening when Glacier Peak star quarterback Ayden Ziomas left the game injured, the Grizzlies’ defense answered the call as Glacier Peak defeated Mount Vernon 30-6 in the game that decided second place in Wesco 4A.
Glacier Peak and Mount Vernon came into the game with identical records — 5-1 in league and 7-1 overall. The winner of Friday’s game earned the second seed from Wesco 4A and a home game in the Week 10 playoffs.
The Grizzlies’ defense proved to be the difference. Glacier Peak held Mount Vernon to 166 yards of total offense, had four sacks, two interceptions and came up with a huge stop on fourth down. That defense was the key to the Grizzlies turning a narrow 10-3 halftime lead into a second-half rout.
Ziomas departed the game in the third quarter after being the subject of personal-foul facemask penalties on back-to-back plays. Ziomas, who had his body twisted on the plays, was in clear pain as he walked off the field and did not return. However, he was standing on the sideline and moving around by game’s end. Glacier Peak coach Nick Bender said Ziomas had a “little ding” and would be evaluated further Saturday.
Mount Vernon was hindered by not having the services of star running back Seth Tercero. Tercero, who has 1,145 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns this season, was injured during last week’s 57-7 victory against Kamiak and did not suit up against the Grizzlies.
By earning the Wesco No. 2 seed Glacier Peak, ranked No. 9 in the Associated Press 4A state poll, assured itself a home game for next week’s playoff games. However, in a strange twist of fate the Grizzlies may have given themselves a tougher task by winning. Glacier Peak now plays host to the Kingco No. 4 team, which is a tough Eastlake team.
Meanwhile, Mount Vernon has to hit the road next week. Yet the Bulldogs may have an easier task against NPSL No. 3 Auburn Mountainview, which finished first in the league’s Valley Division, the third tier of the NPSL’s three handicapped divisions.
Glacier Peak had just taken a 13-3 lead on the first drive of the second half, but the Grizzlies lost Ziomas in the process, so the game still hung in the balance. On Mount Vernon’s ensuing possession the Bulldogs decided to go for it on fourth-and-1 from their own 29-yard line. Glacier Peak came up with the big stop as the interior of the defensive line stacked up Mount Vernon running back Miguel Castro at the line of scrimmage for no gain, turning the ball over on downs. Working with a short field, backup quarterback Ryan Kinney got the Grizzlies into the end zone, scoring himself on a 1-yard keeper to put Glacier Peak firmly in control.
Glacier Peak’s defensive prowess was a true team effort, with no single player carrying the load. However, there were a number of players who made important plays. Defensive end Jacob Derks had a pair of sacks, while defensive back Ryan Black had an interception and long return that set up a fourth-quarter field goal.
Glacier Peak running back Corbin Ferrie had 102 all-purpose yards, rushing 12 times for 60 yards and a touchdown and also catching four passes for 42 yards.
This was also the rare game where both team’s kickers had big efforts. Mount Vernon’s Alastar Stewart provided all of the Bulldogs’ scoring with a pair of field goals, and both were long ones as he drilled 48 and 47 yarders. Glacier Peak’s Brayden Corwin hit all six of his kicks — three field goals and three extra points. And both kickers regularly put the kickoffs into the end zone to prevent returns, with Corwin even putting one wind-aided kickoff through the uprights.
The Week 10 playoff games — Glacier Peak hosting Eastlake, Mount Vernon traveling to Auburn Mountainview — are next weekend with their dates and times yet to be determined. Glacier Peak and Snohomish are both slated to play home games next weekend, so a coin flip will be held to determine which of Glacier Peak and Snohomish plays on Friday and which plays on Saturday.
Both those games are loser out, with the winners advancing to the first round of the state playoffs.