Oak Harbor goes undefeated

OAK HARBOR — The Cascade Bruins got the result they wanted — just not by virtue of the final score.

The defending 4A state champion Oak Harbor Wildcats beat Cascade 21-7 Friday at Oak Harbor Memorial Stadium to wrap up their undefeated league championship regular season. But the result the Bruins needed came during the first half, as word of Everett’s 31-14 victory over Lake Stevens became official.

Everett’s win left the Bruins alone in third place in the Wesco North, and they will claim the third and final seed to the quad-district playoffs.

Friday, however, belonged to the Wildcats.

“We wanted to do well and I think we did at times,” Cascade coach Jake Huizinga said. “It’s a big wakeup call. We saw some mistakes that we made and we need to be a little sharper in the playoffs.”

Cascade, coming off a big win over Arlington at home last week, used its ground attack exclusively, while Oak Harbor relied on several big plays to take the early lead.

The Wildcats got on the board first, driving 61 yards on six running plays on their first possession. On the second play from scrimmage, sophomore running back Donovan Hunt took the ball 36 yards up the right sideline on the reverse before finally being knocked out of bounds at the Cascade 22-yard line. Hunt capped the drive with a 6-yard touchdown run.

Oak Harbor wasted no time extending its leading margin to 14. Quarterback Johnny Encinas completed his first pass of the contest for a 28-yard pickup to tight end Jake Rouser to put the Wildcats on the Cascade 38-yard line. Two plays later on third down, Wildcats receiver Jordan Young lined up in the slot, ran a curl around the wideout up the left sideline, and caught Encinas’ second pass of the drive for a 37-yard touchdown with 38 seconds left in the first quarter.

“Those first two drives were sweet,” Oak Harbor coach Dave Ward said. “Getting in the end zone for those first two scores was really nice.”

Behind 14 points, the Cascade offense went to work. Unable to establish any semblance of an offense through the first quarter, the Bruins began utilizing fullback Lorne Bridgford, as he rushed on six straight plays to place the Bruins at the Oak Harbor 11. Facing fourth-and-goal, Cascade quarterback Aaron Frye scored on a 1-yard quarterback keeper to make it 14-7 with 3:31 left in the first half.

Bridgford’s breakout stretch in the second quarter gave the Wildcats something to focus on the remainder of the contest. The Oak Harbor defense proved to be the difference maker, as they minimized Bridgford’s effectiveness in the second half while nearly shutting down Cascade’s remaining runners entirely.

“That was huge,” Oak Harbor coach Dave Ward said of shutting down Bridgford. “The defense came up with a plan and the coaches got together and we just keyed on him. He’s their horse and we had to slow him down.”

Cascade went back to Bridgford in the third quarter, but the drive stalled, forcing the Bruins to attempt a rare pass. On third-and-eight at Oak Harbor’s 37-yard line, Frye rolled right, but his pass went to Oak Harbor’s Young, who returned it 35 yards to the Cascade 32.

Young added a 7-yard touchdown run for good measure to cap the drive, and the ensuing extra point gave the game its 21-7 final margin.

Encinas finished 6-for-13 for 108 yards passing and one touchdown.

Cascade will face Federal Way, the SPSL No. 1 seed in the first round of quad-district play. Oak Harbor will face the No. 5 team from the Narrows league – either Bellermine Prep or Lincoln – in the district playoffs.

At Memorial Stadium

Cascade0700—7

Oak Harbor14070—21

OH—Hunt 6 run (Johnston kick)

OH—Young 37 pass from Encinas (Johnston kick)

C—Frye 1 run (McDonald kick)

OH—Young 7 run (Johnston kick)

Records—Oak Harbor 8-0 league, 9-0 overall. Cascade 5-3, 6-3.

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