Lake Stevens has unfinished business with Arlington

By AARON COE

Herald Writer

LAKE STEVENS – The play has been eating at them for a year.

Twenty-two seconds left. McCormack to Faries, 57 yards. 21-19 Arlington.

Goodbye, Western Conference 3A title.

Reminders of the play are all over the Lake Stevens campus. The motto, which can be seen on the backs of players all over the Vikings practice field, is “Unfinished Business” – a direct reference to that game. That play.

“That’s what I think about when I work out, and when I run,” said Lake Stevens running back Matt Williams, who has rushed for 543 yards in three games this season. “I think about watching that pass in the air. Watching that guy catch it.

“And just sitting there.”

The Vikings will be searching for redemption tonight at 7:30 at Arlington.

Williams was on the other side of the field when Kevin McCormack, who is back this year to lead the Eagles passing attack, threw the pass between two Lake Stevens defenders and hit Joel Faries in stride for the winning touchdown. The play was the only blemish on the Vikings’ 8-1 regular season, and allowed the Eagles to finish with a perfect conference record.

Arlington coach John Boitano credits the play for saving the 1999 season. The Eagles began the 1999 campaign with two nonconference losses, and would have been 1-3 without the play.

“The play turns the whole season around,” Boitano said. “It opens up the possibilities, where as otherwise, it could have closed the door.”

As in most close games involving rivals, there are two sides to the game story.

The Vikings are quick to point out that all of Arlington’s points came on “fluke” plays. The play at the end came against a blown prevent defense coverage. A halfback pass and a long interception return accounted for the rest of Arlington’s scoring.

The Eagles say the game should have never been that close to begin with. They nearly destroyed themselves with eight turnovers. And Boitano’s wife, Carol, and their son, Arlington running back Joseph, had been involved in a car accident, a head-on collision only three days earlier, causing the coach to miss two practices that week.

Both sides expect tonight’s game to be as close as last year’s contest.

Lake Stevens (1-0 in conference, 2-1 overall) had trouble breaking the plane of the goal line in last Friday’s 14-7 overtime victory over Meadowdale, which has not won a game since the ‘98 season. The Vikings, however, have averaged 450 yards of offense in their three games.

Arlington (1-0, 3-0) appears even more dominant that it was last year, having outscored its opponents 100-26.

Lake Stevens is known for its speed, but is hurt by the loss of two-way player Ryan McKinney, who will miss the rest of the season after shoulder surgery.

Arlington can run, too. Boitano says he has six of the fastest guys he’s ever had, and can match the Vikings’ speed.

Players from both teams believe this game will decide the conference championship.

“This is the biggest game of all of our lives,” Lake Stevens quarterback Nolan Perkl said. “This is the biggest week of our lives.”

Sometimes coaches don’t like to hear words like those. They often prefer the all-games-are-created-equal approach.

But not Lake Stevens coach Ken Collins, a former NFL player who has heard every cliche and probably uttered many himself. This game is different.

“I want them to feel that way about this game,” Collins said. “If they didn’t, I wouldn’t want them playing for me.”

Williams feels that way. He’s bitter, and he’s mad. The image of the ball floating through the air consumes him.

“You see a million balls in the air at the end of a game,” Williams said. “And how many times do they actually complete one?

“Hardly ever.”

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Sports

Boys Snohomish Little League 8-10 coach Aaron Barstad (kneeling) talks to the outfield during practice at the Snohomish Little League Complex in Snohomish, Washington on Thursday, July 18, 2024. Barstad’s team claimed the Washington District 1 Little League title, securing a spot in the 2024 Washington State 8-10 Baseball tournament held July 20-27 at the North Kitsap League Complex in Poulsbo, Washington. (Taras McCurdie / The Herald)
Baseball history in the making: Snohomish Little League 10U boys team is state bound

The 2024 District 1 champions became the first Snohomish boys team to advance.

Rays third baseman Isaac Paredes catches a pop fly in foul territory during Friday’s game against the Cleveland Guardians. (Jefferee Woo / Tribune News Service)
Ranking the best Mariners trade targets as deadline nears

Seattle needs to fill the offensive gap by July 30.

Matt Calkins: Forget the slow start, the Sounders are showing they’re title contenders

Seattle’s 2-0 win over St. Louis City FC launched it into sixth place in the Western Conference.

Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald talks with the media after practice at Under Armour Performance Center. The Seattle Seahawks hired Macdonald on January 31, 2024. (Kevin Richardson / Tribune News Service)
Seattle Seahawks roster breakdown: One thought on Geno Smith and every position group

The next phase of Mike Macdonald’s debut season as head coach of… Continue reading

Jurrangelo Cijntje pitches 2022 MLB Draft Combine held at Petco Park on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 in San Diego, CA. Cijntje, from Mississippi State, was the Mariners’ first pick in the 2024 MLB Draft. (Nelvin C. Cepeda / The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Mariners lean on college players, pitchers with ‘power arms’ as MLB draft concludes

Seattle’s 20 selections include 19 college players and one high schooler.

Jurrangelo Cijntje pitches at the 2022 MLB Draft Combine held at Petco Park on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 in San Diego, CA. Cijntje, from Mississippi State, was the Mariners’ first pick in the 2024 MLB Draft. (Nelvin C. Cepeda / The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Mariners go college route on second day of draft, take 2-way player Grant Knipp

Seattle chose youth and selected eight college players.

Tyler Cronk performs in the slam dunk competition during the Everett 3on3 tournament in downtown Everett, Washington on Sunday, July 14, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Recap, videos and photos: 2024 Everett 3on3 was another slam dunk

Everett alumni place second; skills contests, food trucks and vendors were also in full swing this past weekend to celebrate the basketball tournament’s third edition.

View of T-Mobile Park from the Press Club. Ben Ray / The Reporter
T-Mobile Park at 25: Mariners fans share favorite ballpark memories

The venue turned a quarter of a century on Monday

Kamiak High School’s Victor Sanchez Hernandez Jr. puts on a University of Washington football helmet. Sanchez Hernandez, a three-star defensive end who’s heading into his senior season, committed to the Huskies. (Photo courtesy of Victory Sanchez Hernandez Jr.)
High school football recruiting: Here’s how Washington’s 2025, 2026 classes are shaping up

TNT sports reporter Jon Manley spoke with national recruiting editor Brandon Huffman.

Once an MLB bust, Mill Creek’s Travis Snider now hopes to change toxic culture

When Snider made it to the big leagues in 2008 at just 20 he was one of the game’s top prospects, touted as the Blue Jays’ next great hitter.

Louisville guard Hailey Van Lith found little room between South Carolinas Destiny Littleton (11) and Laeticia Amihere. (Carlos Gonzalez / Star Tribune)
These Olympians in the 2024 Paris Games have ties to Washington state

Nineteen athletes competing in France are from The Evergreen State.

From left to right: Arlington’s Kierra Reese and Stanwood’s Ellalee Wortham, Ava DePew and Presley Harris. The foursome, called “Awesome Mix 12,” won the High School Elite division in 2023 and returned to Spokane Hoopfest this year to claim the Women’s Competitive division title. (Photo courtesy Sarah Reese)
Winter Wesco rivals, summer hoopfest champions

Arlington’s Kierra Reese and Stanwood’s Ava DePew, Presley Harris and Ellalee Wortham teamed up to win back-to-back 3-on-3 titles.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.