MARYSVILLE — The Marysville Pilchuck football team got a much-needed distraction from recent events Monday afternoon.
The Tomahawks returned to practice at Quil Ceda Stadium for the first time since a deadly shooting on the Marysville Pilchuck High School campus Friday morning.
“It was great to get back on the field with the guys and just be around them and change their mindset for a couple of hours, hopefully,” Marysville Pilchuck head coach Brandon Carson said. “Just being around each other, I think, is healthy in this process that we’re going through.
“And practice went well. I didn’t expect it to go as well as it did but I’m happy we’re out here. They’re excited to be out here, they practiced hard. It was a good time.”
Carson was eager to get the Tomahawks back into their game-week schedule.
“I think them getting back into their routine will help,” he said. “I don’t think the scars will ever go away, but it helps to be busy and active and be around each other. I think that helps a lot. We’re doing the best we can to prepare to the best of our abilities with the tragedy that happened. We’re going to be ready to go.”
MP plays Meadowdale on Friday for the Wesco 3A championship.
“We’re pretty motivated this week to get to it. We’re ready for Meadowdale. Well, we’re going to be ready. We’re not yet,” senior running back/defensive back Austin Joyner said with a laugh. “But we’ve got a game plan and just have to execute.”
Marysville Pilchuck running back/defensive back Killian Page said the Tomahawks are trying not to let last week’s events affect how they approach Friday’s game.
“We feel pretty good. We’re getting some pretty good prep so far,” Page said. “I don’t think that we’re going to have any problems getting prepared just because of the situation. I don’t think it’s going to affect us. We’re still just going to come out and play and do what we do.”
After dropping its season opener to Lake Stevens, Meadowdale (6-0 league, 7-1 overall) has won seven straight games. Marysville Pilchuck is 6-1 overall after last week’s game against Oak Harbor was canceled because of the shooting.
The Wildcats gave the Tomahawks the Wesco 3A North championship and the No. 1 seed for the Wesco 3A crossover games between the North and the South.
“(Meadowdale is) not that much different — the way they line up defensively — than Oak (Harbor) was, so our preparation for Oak helped with this weekend too,” Joyner said. “It’s a huge game. It’s always a big game when it comes to championships — any sort of championships. We’re expecting to come out and get a win.”
Added Page: “I think we match up pretty well. It’s going to be a pretty good game.”
One minor adjustment the Tomahawks have to make is to the game’s start time, which, at 8 p.m., is an hour later than usual.
However, Carson noted that in last year’s Wesco 3A championship, Marysville Pilchuck played in an 8 p.m. game against Glacier Peak after the 5 p.m. game went into overtime.
The Tomahawks defeated the Grizzlies 59-20.
“We usually meet up in locker rooms like two or three hours beforehand anyways,” Page said. “We’re probably going to show up to the locker room a little bit later, though. That’s the only thing that’s going to be different, I think.”
In the early game, Marysville Getchell faces Lynnwood at 5 p.m.. Marysville Getchell will celebrate its Senior Night, while the Tomahawks will wait until the following week — when they host a quad-district playoff game — to honor their seniors.
For now, Marysville Pilchuck is just focused on preparing for Meadowdale.
“It’s a good distraction. It gets my mind off some of the other stuff,” Carson said. “It doesn’t make it go away but it helps. I’ve got a job and I’ve got to get these guys ready to play Meadowdale and I think today was a great step in that process. We’re going to be ready to go on Friday.”