SNOHOMISH — It was expected to be a highly compelling showdown between two of Snohomish County’s top high school football teams.
Marysville Pilchuck had other ideas.
The Tomahawks turned this non-league clash of state playoff contenders into a one-sided beatdown of epic proportions — one that’s sure to send shockwaves throughout the state.
Class 3A seventh-ranked Marysville Pilchuck raced to a 42-0 halftime lead and stunned 4A seventh-ranked Glacier Peak with a 49-14 running-clock rout Friday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
“Never in my wildest (dreams) would I’ve thought we’d have a running clock at halftime,” Tomahawks coach Brandon Carson said. “That’s a really good team over there.”
Defending Wesco 3A champion Marysville Pilchuck (4-0) opened the season by cruising past Shorecrest, Stanwood and Marysville Getchell in a trio of running-clock blowouts. Glacier Peak, fresh off a 49-7 thrashing of perennial 4A state power Woodinville last week, figured to give the Tomahawks a much stronger test.
But Marysville Pilchuck made the state-ranked Grizzlies (3-1) look like just another overmatched team.
Just how dominant was this performance?
Midway through the third quarter, the Tomahawks led 49-0. At that point, they had 329 total yards. Glacier Peak, meanwhile, was at minus-2 yards.
“When I saw that scoreboard was 42-0 at halftime, I knew that we’ve got something special going this year,” Marysville Pilchuck star running back Dylan Carson said. “And I just think teams aren’t ready for us. No one thought we were gonna win that game going into it.”
The Tomahawks kept Glacier Peak off-balance all night with their deceptive Slot-T rushing attack. Running behind a big and experienced offensive line, Marysville Pilchuck’s stable of talented backs totaled 345 yards rushing at a clip of 9.1 yards per carry.
Dylan Carson entered with video game numbers, having racked up 734 yards, 12 touchdowns and an absurd 18.4 yards per carry through the first three games. And the big-play senior had another productive performance Friday, running for 103 yards and two scores on 16 carries.
But with the Grizzlies focusing on slowing down Dylan Carson, it freed space for backs Gaylan Gray, Jordan Velasquez and Michael Bejar. There were a number of times when Glacier Peak bit on a fake handoff to Carson up the middle, which left the defense exposed as Gray, Velasquez or Bejar broke big gains with speed around the edge.
Gray, a junior, ran for 104 yards and two TDs on just four carries. Velasquez, a senior, added 97 yards and two TDs on seven carries. Bejar, another senior, chipped in 49 yards on seven carries.
“We knew they’d key on Dylan pretty heavily, and they did a good job on that,” Brandon Carson said. “And I think that opened up some things on the outside for Jordan and Gaylan and Mikey. (And) hats off to our offensive line. Holy cow. They did a good job.”
The Tomahawks were similarly dominant on defense.
Glacier Peak ran the ball at will last week, churning out 354 yards rushing against a Woodinville program known for its defense. But Marysville Pilchuck completely bottled up the Grizzlies’ ground attack Friday, holding running back Trey Leckner to just 10 yards on nine carries.
And as for Glacier Peak’s passing game? The Tomahawks’ defensive front neutralized that too, providing constant pressure on quarterback River Lien en route to six first-half sacks.
Marysville Pilchuck’s defense also came up with a pair of key turnovers, including a pick-six by Gray.
“The key was stopping the run game early,” Brandon Carson said. “And then we could kind of pin our ears back and (blitz) and keep their passing game under wraps.”
The Tomahawks set the tone from the opening snap, when Bejar took an end-around and eluded several defenders on his way to a 39-yard gain. Later in the drive, Gray broke a tackle and bounced outside for a 9-yard TD that capped a 92-yard scoring march.
Marysville Pilchuck struck again early in the second quarter, when Velasquez raced around the right side for a 17-yard TD to give Marysville Pilchuck a 14-0 lead.
After that, the Grizzlies committed back-to-back costly turnovers.
The first came on a fumbled handoff exchange. The Tomahawks pounced on the loose ball and took over in prime field position at the Glacier Peak 15-yard line. Four plays later, Carson punched in a 1-yard TD.
And on the Grizzlies’ next possession, Gray jumped in front of a screen pass and snagged an interception that he returned for a 19-yard score and a 28-0 lead.
“That pick-six was kind of a tone-setter,” Brandon Carson said. “That was huge. When you score against a team like this on defense, that changes things a lot.”
From there, the floodgates burst wide open.
Following another Glacier Peak three-and-out, Gray took an end-around and raced down the left sideline for a 39-yard score. It was Marysville Pilchuck’s third TD in just over two minutes.
Later in the half, Carson added an 8-yard scoring run to make it 42-0. Velasquez broke a 54-yard TD in the third quarter to extend the Tomahawks’ lead to 49-0.
Leckner later put the Grizzlies on the board with a pair of rushing scores.
“They just out-executed us,” Glacier Peak coach Shane Keck said. “They did some really good stuff on offense and got us off-kilter a little bit. And then their defense gave us problems. We weren’t able to run the football. And then when we tried to throw it, they were in our backfield and giving River pressure.
“Hats off to those guys,” he added. “They did a great job preparing. We didn’t. And at the end of the day, that’s on me.”
Through four games, Marysville Pilchuck has outscored opponents by a combined 213-48 margin — including 185-13 in the first three quarters of those contests.
The Tomahawks return to league play next week, when they host 3A ninth-ranked Ferndale (5-0) in a game with massive Wesco 3A North title implications.
After reaching the 3A state quarterfinals in 2019, Marysville Pilchuck certainly looks capable of another state playoff run. Just how good is this team?
“We’re pretty good,” Gray said. “I think this year’s our year.”