SHORELINE — There’s no taking away the many successes of the Shorewood football team’s 2018 season.
The Thunderbirds finished second in the Wesco South after playing an independent schedule last year. They qualified for postseason play two years removed from consecutive winless seasons and opened the year winning five of their first six.
But for all the great memories, Shorewood’s district playoff game likely won’t evoke many feel-good moments.
The Thunderbirds were hoping to clinch a state tournament berth for the first time since 1990. Lake Washington played spoiler.
The Kangaroos’ defense overwhelmed Shorewood’s offense, and the Thunderbirds suffered a 17-0 Week 10 playoff loss Friday at Shoreline Stadium.
“They did a great job of pressuring the quarterback and took away a couple of our playmakers,” Shorewood coach Brandon Torrey said. “We had a hard time adjusting to it. They had a great gameplan.”
The Thunderbirds (5-5) entered its playoff matchup averaging 28.7 points per game, but the David Snell-operated offense totaled just 42 yards. Snell was sacked six times, and Shorewood’s run game never found a rhythm against Lake Washington’s stiff defensive front.
Snell finished 11 of 22 for 64 yards passing and an interception, but until a fourth-quarter drive with four minutes to play, Snell had completed only 4 of 13 passes for 1 yard. Robert Banks led the Thunderbirds’ rushing attack with 30 yards on 12 carries.
Shorewood did well to limit the Kangaroos to 17 points. Defensive back Spencer Osborn recorded two of the Thunderbirds’ three interceptions of Lake Washington quarterback Jakson Voelker, and while Kangaroos running back James Gardner ran for 105 yards and two scores, he did so on 35 carries.
Lake Washington took a 7-0 lead with 11 minutes, 13 seconds left in the second quarter after Gardner capped a 13-play, 72-yard scoring drive a with a 1-yard touchdown run. Shorewood followed with a critical turnover.
Snell threw to his wide receiver on a screen deep in Thunderbirds’ territory, but the Kangaroos’ Nick Anderson jumped in front of the pass, intercepted the ball and set up Lake Washington with prime scoring position on Shorewood’s 15-yard line.
Four plays later, Gardner was back in the end zone following a 1-yard touchdown run. Just like that, the Thunderbirds’ deficit swelled to 14 in less than two minutes.
“It’s a big deal for our kids to make it this far,” Torrey said. “We have never been here before. We talked the last couple of weeks about readjusting our goals, and now we have the goal of making the playoffs and getting past that.”
The 17-0 loss ended Shorewood’s season, but the Thunderbirds accomplished plenty and have rebounded well from some not-so-long-ago futile seasons. Lake Washington advances to the 3A state tournament for the first time since 2003.
James Gardner, Lake Washington — Gardner set the tone for Lake Washington’s offense. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound back received 35 carries and finished with 105 yards and two touchdowns.
Lake Washington defensive line — Not only did the Kangaroos sack Snell six times, but he constantly faced pressure, and Shorewood was unable to create any running room all night.
Spencer Osborn, Shorewood — The Thunderbirds didn’t leave Shoreline Stadium with much to brag about, but Osborn made a couple of nice interceptions.
“Our defense I would say is the strength of our team, so offensively we just want to make sure we protect the football, which we didn’t do a great of tonight, but we want to protect the football and let our defense win the game for us.” — Lake Washington coach Andy Arena
“They definitely had some keys offensively that we saw on film, so we took advantage of that.” — Lake Washington coach Andy Arena
“It’s painful, and you got to kind of deal with it the next couple of days that it’s over, but we’ll talk about it next week and kind of celebrate the success of the year.” — Shorewood coach Brandon Torrey