EDMONDS — Tyson Lang knows he has some big shoes to fill.
The Glacier Peak High School junior has the unenviable task of following a legend. Lang inherited the starting quarterback job from three-year starter Ayden Ziomas, an electric dual threat capable of winning games both with his arm and his legs.
But if first impressions are any indication, the Grizzlies are in good hands.
Lang had an impressive debut as a starter, throwing three touchdown passes and running for a fourth to lead the Grizzlies to a season-opening 35-14 non-league victory over the Edmonds-Woodway Warriors on Friday night at Edmonds District Stadium.
“It feels good,” Lang said about starting the season with a victory. “We’re still looking for more, though.
“We played well,” Lang added. “We still have stuff to clean up, but we’re going to get it figured out. I think we played defense really well today, and it all starts with the O-line, they blocked really well for me as well.”
Lang finished the game 14-for-23 for 178 yards, hitting Brayden Corwin on a pair of those scores. Lang also did his best Ziomas impersonation when he scrambled 20 yards for Glacier Peak’s opening touchdown.
“I thought Tyson played well,” said Glacier Peak head coach Shane Keck, who was officially elevated from defensive coordinator Monday when Nick Bender had to step aside for health reasons. Bender remains the offensive coordinator. “He showed some maturity, hung in the pocket, made some good throws. There’s a lot of stuff we have to clean up, some routes and communication and those type of things. Those are normal week one types of things. But I thought Tyson showed he can play some varsity football for us.”
Edmonds-Woodway, meanwhile, suffered a major blow when senior starting quarterback Read Carr suffered a broken wrist on the Warriors’ first offensive play. Junior Cruze Colwill was unexpectedly called into action, finishing 7-for-13 for 65 yards and running for a touchdown.
“The first half was super sloppy,” Edmonds-Woodway coach John Gradwohl said. “I thought our defense did some good things. We gave up some key third-down plays, but I thought overall they played decent. Offensively we lost our quarterback on the first play, the back-up I thought came in and did a solid job, but we were missing that leadership.”
While Lang capably guided Glacier Peak’s offense, it was the Grizzlies’ defense and special teams that came up big at the game’s decisive moment.
Glacier Peak deservedly lead 21-7 at halftime, but the Warriors came out strong to start the second half behind a straight-ahead running game that grinded out yards. But the first drive of the half stalled when the Grizzlies forced a fumble.
Then after a Glacier Peak three-and-out, the Warriors were driving again, making it all the way to the Grizzlies’ 8-yard line. However, a 25-yard field-goal attempt was blocked by Preston Weaver, and Ryan Kinney swept it up and raced 70 yards for a touchdown that made it 28-7.
Then on the ensuing kickoff Weaver came up big again when he recovered a surprise onside kick. That drive ended with Lang finding Corwin on a skinny-post route down the left seam for a 37-yard touchdown on fourth-and-14, making it 35-7 and ending the game as a contest.
“It was rough at times,” Keck said about the Grizzlies’ overall performance. “I thought the kids played hard and with a lot of enthusiasm, I think we were really inspired to play today. A lot of mistakes, hopefully stuff we clean up within the week. Some big special teams plays, we got a field goal block and then we got an onside kick, which I kind of thought swung the game in our direction.”
Early on it looked like Glacier Peak was going to boatrace Edmonds-Woodway the same way it did in last year’s opener, when the Grizzlies blitzed the Warriors 52-0. Glacier Peak scored on each of its first two possessions and was in complete control until Edmonds-Woodway’s Ethan Davis blocked a punt to give the Warriors the ball at the Grizzlies’ 4-yard line. On the sixth attempt Edmonds-Woodway punched it in when Colwill kept it on the read option and found a lane off right tackle for a 5-yard touchdown run that cut the deficit to 14-7.
But the Grizzlies got one last chance with time winding down in the first half, and Glacier Peak converted when Lang hit Corwin on the left seam for the first of their two TD connections, a 12-yarder with 35 seconds remaining in the half that made it 21-7.