SNOHOMISH — For one half, it looked like the Snohomish High School football team might have a chance to finally beat its crosstown rival.
Glacier Peak ultimately put an end to those hopes with two quick touchdowns early in the second half.
Once again, town bragging rights belong to the Grizzlies.
Ryan Black scored on a pair of electrifying long touchdowns, Tyson Lang connected on a handful of deep passes and Glacier Peak made several key defensive stops to earn a 35-10 win over Snohomish in the annual crosstown rivalry game Friday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
The Grizzlies have won all nine matchups since the teams began squaring off in 2012.
“Every year, (Snohomish is) saying it’s their year,” Black said. “And we like to keep it ours. … We like to keep the streak alive.”
Late in the first half, Snohomish trailed just 14-10 and had a pair of golden opportunities to take a lead into the break. But Glacier Peak’s defense turned away the Panthers both times.
The Grizzlies’ first stop came on a forced fumble inside the 10-yard line with 1:23 to play in the half. However, Glacier Peak (2-0) gave the ball right back to Snohomish, fumbling just two plays later to set up the Panthers on the 4-yard line.
No problem. Once again, the Grizzlies’ defense rose to the occasion.
On fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line with 15 seconds left in the half, the Panthers (1-1) hurried to the line of scrimmage and attempted a quarterback sneak. But Glacier Peak was ready for it and stuffed Snohomish’s quarterback to preserve a four-point lead.
“That was huge,” Black said. “I think a lot of that has to do with our coaches instilling grit into us and just telling us to never give up. … Not everything was going our way tonight, but we just kept playing to the whistle and made a great stop.”
After ending the first half with the key goal-line stand, the Grizzlies opened the second half with some offensive fireworks.
In the opening minute of the third quarter, Lang lofted a 31-yard pass down the right sideline to Cooper Jensen. The senior quarterback then went right back to Jensen on the next play, lobbing a pass to the right side of the end zone. The 6-foot-5 sophomore receiver used his height to snag it for a 21-yard touchdown, extending Glacier Peak’s lead to 21-10.
“To me, that was the momentum change,” Grizzlies coach Shane Keck said of the quick scoring drive. “We came right out of the half and we can score in a hurry. … Cooper is a tough matchup. I think he’s gonna be on a lot of college radars, because he can flat play.”
Glacier Peak’s defense then followed with a three-and-out. And on the very next snap, Black went the distance.
The talented senior running back took a shotgun handoff, eluded a defender at the line of scrimmage, weaved past several more defenders and raced into the end zone for a 52-yard touchdown to make it 28-10 less than four minutes into the second half.
It was the second spectacular, long touchdown of the night for the two-way standout. Midway through the second quarter, Black caught a short swing pass and immediately eluded a defender. He then raced down the left sideline, juked another defender and sprinted the rest of the way for a 62-yard score.
Black finished with 139 yards from scrimmage on 10 offensive touches.
“I think he’s the best player in our conference overall,” Keck said. “Nobody affects the game like he does. If he gets a crease, he can go. And he’s so physical. … We’re lucky to have him.”
The Grizzlies didn’t ask Lang to throw often on Friday night. But when they did, the senior quarterback was very effective with the deep ball.
Lang completed 10 of 14 passes for 261 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. The University of Washington preferred walk-on had five completions of 30-plus yards, as well as a 29-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline to junior Ashton Olson early in the second quarter for Glacier Peak’s first score.
“We ask (Tyson) not to turn the ball over and to make accurate throws, and he did that,” Keck said. “I don’t think we gave him the keys to the car as much tonight, because of what (Snohomish was) doing. But he made big throws. We hit three or four big ones down the sideline.”
Glacier Peak’s defense stymied Snohomish for most of the night, limiting the Panthers to just 226 total yards and 3.0 yards per play. The Grizzlies’ strong defensive performance helped make up for a handful of miscues on offense and special teams that gave Snohomish short fields.
Glacier Peak muffed a punt, lost four fumbles on offense and threw an interception on a fake punt. As a result, the Panthers started six possessions in Grizzlies territory. But on those six possessions, Snohomish mustered a total of just seven points.
Through two games, Glacier Peak has allowed just 17 points combined. The Grizzlies opened their abbreviated five-game season last week with a 35-7 win over defending Wesco 3A champion Marysville Pilchuck.
“We believe in what we do and we knew we were gonna get stops,” Keck said. “We just had to play our stuff. And the kids just play hard. (We) didn’t do anything special. We didn’t do anything unique. We just do our thing and line up and go make tackles. … I thought defensively we played lights-out.”
The Panthers’ lone touchdown was set up by Glacier Peak’s muffed punt in the second quarter. On the ensuing play, senior quarterback Silas Strehle threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to senior Caden Keithley, which gave Snohomish a brief 10-7 lead. But the Panthers never scored again.
“We had opportunities,” Snohomish coach Joey Hammer said. “We just need to capitalize. … I believe in these boys and we’ll learn from this one and we’ll keep climbing, because that’s all we can do. But yeah, (we didn’t) take advantage of some opportunities and GP capitalized.”