TACOMA — Earlier this week the Lake Stevens High School football team was named the No. 1 Class 4A team in the state by the Associated Press. On Friday night the Vikings produced a result worthy of that ranking.
Lake Stevens overcame turnovers and penalties en route to defeating the formidable Lincoln Abes 35-26 Friday night in a non-league game at the Lincoln Bowl.
The Vikings (2-0), defending 4A state runners up, used the legs of running back Dallas Landeros, the arm of quarterback Tanner Jellison and the stoutness of a defense that may have allowed four touchdowns, but came up big at big moments.
Landeros ran for 146 yards and scored three touchdowns, including two TDs in the fourth quarter as the Vikings broke open a one-point game.
Meanwhile, Lake Stevens’ defense came to the rescue of an offense that uncharacteristically turned the ball over three times, forcing the Vikings to constantly have to defend a short field. Lake Stevens came up with a big fourth-down stop inside its own 10 in the final minute of the first half, which allowed the Vikings to carry a 21-14 lead into halftime. The defense also came up with an interception by Gabe Ramsey inside its own 10, and stopped the Abes short on three two-point conversion attempts. The third of those stops left it a two-score game after Lincoln scored with 3 minutes, 38 seconds remaining, meaning the Vikings didn’t have to sweat the final moments
Lincoln, the No. 5 team in the Class 3A state poll, fell to 0-2.
Lake Stevens had a disastrous start to the game, fumbling a handoff on its opening possession, and the Abes took the lead three plays later on Jeddiah Hayes’ 16-yard touchdown run that made it 6-0.
The Vikings responded well, with Kasen Kinchen scoring on a 22-yard jet sweep around the right corner and Landeros taking a screen pass 14 yards for a TD, giving Lake Stevens a 14-6 lead.
After Jaylen Clark’s spectacular 25-yard touchdown catch tied it at 14-14 for Lincoln, Joe Gonzalez caught a 5-yard TD as the Vikings led 21-14 going into halftime.
Lincoln struck first in the second half on Julien Simon’s 3-yard run, though a failed two-point conversion left the score 21-20. But a Landeros 1-yard run, set up by a 55-yard connection between Jellison and Kinchen, followed by Landeros’ 29-yard TD scamper made it 35-20. Simon caught a 21-yard TD pass from Caden Filer with 3:38 remaining, but when Simon was stopped short on the 2-point try and Lake Stevens recovered the ensuing onside kick, the Vikings were able to run out the clock.
This was an early season indicator for both teams, and both came away with a measure of credit. Lake Stevens showed it could go on the road and beat a quality opponent, reinforcing its No. 1 ranking. Meanwhile, the Abes hung tough with the top-ranked 4A team in the state.
The final two drives of the first half were the ones the kept Lake Stevens in control. Both teams drove inside their opponents’ 10-yard line, but faced fourth down. Lake Stevens converted when Jellison found Gonzalez on a 5-yard out pattern to the left corner of the end zone to make it 21-14. Lincoln, however, was unable to convert as Simon couldn’t quite get a foot down in bounds in the back of the end zone on an 8-yard pass from Filer. That allowed Lake Stevens to go into halftime with the edge.
Dallas Landeros, Lake Stevens. The senior running back carried the ball 22 times for 146 yards and two touchdowns, and also caught three passes for 25 yards and another score.
Tanner Jellison, Lake Stevens. The junior quarterback was 13-for-20 for 175 yards and two TDs.
Caden Filer, Lincoln. The senior quarterback was 18-for-32 for 264 yards and two touchdowns.
Julien Simon, Lincoln. The junior receiver caught six passes for 86 yards and a touchdown, and also carried the ball five times for 20 yards and another score.
Lake Stevens opens Wesco 4A play at home against Monroe next Friday. The Vikings are looking to extend their 39-game Wesco 4A winning streak, which dates back to their league opener in 2013 when they lost 38-27 to Mount Vernon. Monroe should provide a good test, as the Bearcats have an impressive 42-41 victory over Eastlake and a narrow 21-20 loss to Woodinville, a state semifinalist last year, under their belts.