Edmonds-Woodway’s Chris Cruz-Akre (16) moves with the ball during a game between Edmonds-Woodway and Mountlake Terrace at Edmonds-Woodway Stadium in Edmonds, Washington on Friday, Oct. 20, 2023. Edmonds-Woodway won, 13-10. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Edmonds-Woodway’s Chris Cruz-Akre (16) moves with the ball during a game between Edmonds-Woodway and Mountlake Terrace at Edmonds-Woodway Stadium in Edmonds, Washington on Friday, Oct. 20, 2023. Edmonds-Woodway won, 13-10. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Edmonds-Woodway outlasts Terrace, secures 13-10 win in regular season finale

Jesse Hart grabs late 34-yard go-ahead TD, Warriors defense shines in key Wesco 3A South win.

EDMONDS — The Edmonds-Woodway football team took care of a big check mark during Friday’s victory over Mountlake Terrace.

The Warriors escaped Edmonds Stadium with a gritty 13-10 win over the Hawks in a regular season finale, clinching second place in the Wesco 3A South and garnering an automatic bid into the Week 10 playoffs.

Woodway (6-2, 5-1) and Terrace (5-3, 4-2) both came into the night tied for second in the league behind Monroe (8-0, 6-0), and a last-minute 34-yard TD toss from Warriors QB Steven Warren Jr. to Jesse Hart was the last play they needed to sew things up.

Hart’s TD reception came on the heels of a gutsy defensive performance from Edmonds-Woodway, who used four fourth-down stops in their own territory in the first half to hold on tightly to a 7-2 halftime lead.

“I felt good about them gutting it out,” Warriors coach John Gradwhol said. “They had some opportunities in the first half and I was real proud of our defense for holding them off for a couple of fourth downs. Zaveon is a heckuva running back and they’re a good team. .. Giving up the safety to him was a tough one, but he did it, he’s hard to block.”

Hawks star senior rusher Zaveon Jones got the game’s first points as the second of back-to-back sacks on Warren Jr. resulted in a safety, giving Terrace a 2-0 lead at the 9:55 mark in the second period. Jones finished the night collecting 138 yards rushing on 25 carries, adding four catches (35 yards), a two-point conversion, two sacks, a safety and another tackle for a loss.

“He’s a special, special player,” Warriors senior Diego Escandon said. “He’s a big dude, really quick and hard to bring down. That’s why all week we were working on swarming, getting to the ball and just taking him down with numbers. That was it.”

After the Warriors came up with one of their big fourth down stops, Warren Jr, who shook off a stinger from the earlier sack in his own endzone, popped a 37-yard pass that hit Escandon on the sidelines, fronting an eight-play, 74-yard drive as Rashaad Gerona-Chatters (19 carries, 84 yards) ended it on a three-yard rushing score, making it 7-2 with 2:58 before the half.

After a scoreless third quarter and a 17-play drive from Edmonds-Woodway that ended with a turnover on downs, Terrace found itself on its own 11-yard line at the 8-minute mark in the fourth with a chance to re-take the lead.

“In the second half, you saw it. .. It was a we have a drive, you have a drive sort of thing,” Gradwhol said. “And they finally punched one in on us, had our backs against the wall a bit.”

Hawks quarterback Arian Motaghedi linked up with Braedan Swan for a 14-yard reception on third-and-12 to keep the drive alive, and Jones let loose for a 24-yard run.

Motaghedi would cap off the 14-play, 89-yard drive with a touchdown on a QB sneak on fourth-and-goal at the one yard line. Jones rushed in the two-point try, giving the Hawks a 10-7 lead with 2:58 left in the final frame.

On the Warriors final drive of the game, David Danyo reeled in a must-have 16-yard grab on fourth-and-12.

Warren Jr. found Hart and Escandon for 13 and seven yard gains, and Hart’s 34-yard streak route gave Woodway the go-ahead score with 42 seconds left on the clock.

After Jones willed his way to the Woodway 45-yard line on a 25-yard catch-and-run, Escandon picked off a last-second desperation throw from Motaghedi as time expired.

“We just had to capitalize on those moments,” Escandon said. “Just get those big plays, because we knew there was only gonna just be a few of them, we just took what we got. It was back-and-forth, it was a lot of momentum back-and-forth. .. It’s a great feeling, we’re gonna celebrate it and we’re gonna put in the work and make sure we’re ready for next week.”

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