EVERETT — Earlier this week, the Mariner football team found out that running back Romelo Mangum wouldn’t be available for the Marauders’ Friday game against Kamiak due to injury.
Instead it was senior Isaiah Harrison and sophomore Josiah Pesterkoff who carried the load as Mariner defeated the Knights 21-14 before a packed house at Goddard Stadium.
“That’s just the way it is — guys had to step up and carry the ball,” Marauders coach Mark Stewart said. “It was nice to see those guys step up in those opportunities and make plays. That was big.”
Pesterkoff gained 89 yards on 13 carries, and Harrison finished with 88 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries as Mariner moved to 1-1 in Wesco 4A play and 2-2 overall. Kamiak fell to 0-2 and 1-3.
Harrison’s 9-yard scoring jaunt on the first play of the fourth quarter snapped a 14-14 tie.
The Knights answered by marching all the way to the Mariner 24, but the Marauders recovered a Kamiak fumble and were able to run the clock all the way down to 1 minute, 15 seconds before punting it away.
Kamiak couldn’t muster a final drive.
The game was poised to be far more one-sided.
Mariner led 14-6 and were driving to open the second quarter. However, the second quarter proved beguiling to the Marauders.
Twice Mariner drove inside Kamiak’s 15-yard line only to fumble the ball away. Then, with less than a minute to go in the half, the Knights defense stuffed Mariner on three straight runs from inside the 2-yard-line and took over on downs to keep it 14-6 at the half.
“It should have been a blowout,” Harrison said. “We’re a great team. (But) sometimes we struggle.”
Instead, Ben Barton’s 72-yard run set up Matt Merk’s 3-yard touchdown run with nine minutes left in the third quarter. Barton then carried in the two-point conversion to tie the game 14-14. Kamiak missed a potential go-ahead field goal with 3:52 to play in the third quarter.
Four minutes later, Harrison’s second touchdown proved to be the game’s final points.
“That’s a good football team over there, and it gets a little frustrating,” Stewart said. “We haven’t been scoring, so it was a little bit of a confidence thing with our offense. We just need to feel like we can go out and finish some stuff. I think we’re continuing to make progress, and it was great that we were able to come out and finish with a drive in the second half.”
Mariner quickly erased a 6-0 Kamiak lead in the opening quarter. A 20-yard completion from Fama Toure to Tyrell Waverly, and back-to-back 18-yard runs by Toure and Harrison set up Harrison’s 1-yard touchdown run at 7:14 in the first quarter.
The Marauders forced a Kamiak three-and-out, returned the punt to the Knights’ 21, and Toure found Amory Brown in the right flat for a 19-yard touchdown pass at 4:56 in the first quarter for a 14-6 advantage.
Barton rushed for 32 yards on the game-opening drive for Kamiak, punctuated by a 14-yard touchdown run that gave the Knights a 6-0 lead at 8:30 in the first quarter.
Barton finished with 162 yard on 20 carries. Merk was 14-for-26 for 133 yards and a rushing touchdown.
Mariner totaled 253 yards on the ground and 396 total yards.