Everett runs over Meadowdale, clinches playoff berth

The Seagulls rushed for 462 yards as they grabbed their first district playoff spot since 2010.

EDMONDS — The Everett Seagulls weren’t a high school football team Friday night. They were an irresistible force of nature.

Everett ran the ball as if it had the full power of Mother Nature behind its back, and the Seagulls blew over the Meadowdale Mavericks 56-21 in a Wesco 3A South game Friday night at Edmonds Stadium.

The Seagulls, using their flexbone option rushing attack, carried the ball 44 times for an astonishing 462 yards. That included 379 yards on 34 carries in the first half alone.

And the result also carried Everett (4-1 league, 6-2 overall) to its first district crossover game since 2010, as the Seagulls clinched a top-three spot in the Wesco 3A South with one game remaining.

”It’s definitely a different feeling,” said Everett junior running back Christian Balmer, who led the way with 125 yards on 10 carries and two touchdowns. “As a program we’re not used to this position, but it’s really mind blowing that we made history. We’re going in a different direction than we have in the past, a good direction.”

It was all thanks to a running game that would not be denied. The Seagulls ran the ball inside, outside and upside down as they turned the Meadowdale defense into knots. A wide variety of dives, counters and sweeps got the whole team involved as 11 different players received at least one carry, with none getting more than 11. Six of those ball carriers gained at least 45 yards. Five different players also scored rushing touchdowns for Everett.

“That’s up there in the upper echelon of things I’ve seen,” Everett coach Doug Trainor said about Everett’s run game. “I watched them in pregame and I was telling a couple coaches that I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team with that much juice in pregame with executing.

“We played great,” Trainor added. “Everything we implemented for them, they just followed it to a T, and I would say they took it above and beyond what our expectation was for it. They just keep playing faster every week, they believe in each other and it’s showing.”

Everett still has a chance to grab a share of the Wesco 3A South title. A win next week against Lynnwood, combined with a Snohomish victory over Edmonds-Woodway, would create a three-way tie for first, with each team having split its meetings with the other two.

Meanwhile, Meadowdale (3-3, 4-4) completed its league schedule and is locked into fourth place. That means the Mavericks will be part of the pigtail game against the fourth-place team from the Wesco 3A North for the league’s seventh and final berth to the district crossovers.

Jashon Butler was the lone bright spot for the Mavericks on Friday, rushing for 181 yards on 21 carries and scoring all three Meadowdale touchdowns.

Everett’s run game was unstoppable in the first half. The Seagulls’ first 31 offensive plays were runs, spread between eight different ball carriers, and there was nothing the Mavericks could do to stop any of them.

It began from the start as on the game’s opening drive Everett bulldozed straight ahead, going 80 yards on six plays, culminating when Balmer went untouched up the middle 36 yards for a touchdown and a 6-0 lead. It ended when Elijah Ross-Rutter took a toss sweep to the left and raced 48 yards for a touchdown with 19 seconds remaining in the half. In between the Seagulls amassed more rushing yards than some teams gain in a month.

”It was really just misdirection and smash-mouth football,” Balmer said. “That’s really all it is. We just want to pound, pound, pound and drive and wear teams down.”

It didn’t always look like it was going to be a blowout. A couple of unsuccessful extra points, followed immediately by Butler’s 65-yard touchdown run, left the Seagulls leading just 12-7 at the end of the first quarter.

But that turned out to just be the opening act for a second quarter in which Everett was the equivalent of a stadium headliner. The Seagulls had the ball five times in the second quarter and scored touchdowns on all five occasions, each on runs and each by a different player. Balmer began the deluge with a 25-yard touchdown run, his second long TD carry on which he burst through the line untouched.

After that it was a case of choosing one’s poison for the Mavericks. Zack Stacy filled in for Balmer on the next series and burst through the middle for a 9-yard touchdown. Quarterback Gabe Maggio kept the ball on an option play and rumbled 25 yards for a score. Keshon Lowe powered in for an 11-yard touchdown, giving him two TDs on two carries. Then Ross-Rutter finished it off just before the end of the half, completing the first-half rout and forcing a running clock for the second half.

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