LAKE STEVENS — Lake Stevens punt returner Duke Dolphin used misdirection and some sly moves to jump start Lake Stevens toward a key Wesco North win.
Lake Stevens fumbled its first punt return attempt. On its second attempt Lake Stevens inserted Dolphin, who hauled in a kick at his own 14-yard line, briefly retreated before cutting upfield, evaded Stanwood’s coverage and vaulted Lake Stevens to a 7-0 lead and eventual 28-7 victory Friday night at Lake Stevens High School.
The win enabled Lake Stevens to finish in third place, by way of tiebreakers between itself, Marysville-Pilchuck, and Monroe. All finished 3-2 in league play. Lake Stevens will play the Wesco South’s No. 3 seed, Mariner (3-1 league, 5-3 overall), which boasts the dangerous running back KeiVarae Russell, in a winner-to-Qaud-District, loser-out crossover game next Friday.
Lake Stevens took a 21-0 lead into halftime, with Vikings quarterback Jake Nelson throwing a pair of touchdown passes to wide receiver Christian Gasca, from 28 and 4 yards out, respectively.
Stanwood was unable to mount much offense in the first half, which gave the versatile Lake Stevens attack ample offensive opportunities.
In the second half, Stanwood, much like the first half, struggled offensively, but began to establish its ground attack. The Spartans marched down the field, with Devin Wooldridge capping an 11-play, 63-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run on fourth and goal. Stanwood finished with 91 rushing yards on 50 carries and was 2-for-3 passing for 38 yards and an interception, with the bulk of those yards coming on a 36-yard halfback pass.
Lake Stevens’ middle linebacker Korey Young totalled 24 tackles — two short of the school record — and 115 on the season.
Lake Stevens totalled 219 yards, with Dolphin rushing for 68 yards on 14 carries and Nelson completing five of nine for 58 yards and two TDs. Nelso also had 84 yards on 13 carries for the majority of the Vikings’ offense.
At Lake Stevens H.S.
Lake Stevens—Dolphin 86 punt return (Morgan kick)
Lake Stevens—Gasca 28 pass from Nelson (Morgan kick)
Lake Stevens—Gasca 4 pass from Nelson (Morgan kick)
Stanwood—Wooldridge 4 run (Harris kick)
Lake Stevens—Nelson 7 run (Morgan kick)
Records—Stanwood 1-4 league, 1-7 overall. Lake Stevens 3-2, 6-2.