Snohomish back on playoff track after 1-3 start to season

By Joe Johnson

Herald Writer

SNOHOMISH – After a rough, 1-3 start to its season, the Snohomish football team appears to have gotten fully back on the right track. And it proved that point in a dominating 35-7 victory over Oak Harbor in a key Western Conference North game Friday night.

With the victory, its fourth straight, Snohomish improved to 5-2 in the conference and 5-3 overall, and put itself in a strong position to claim one of the North Division’s three playoff spots with one week remaining in the regular season. With the loss, Oak Harbor dropped to 4-3 in the conference, 5-3 overall.

The Panthers stuck to their strength against Oak Harbor, riding the legs of running backs Todd Olson, Jacob Darling, and Tom Foisy to 221 rushing yards and gaining just 44 yards through the air. The Snohomish defense did its part, forcing five turnovers and keeping the Wildcat offense in check throughout the game.

Snohomish coach Mark Perry praised his offensive line for the team’s rushing success.

“The line blocked great for us, and that makes the play calling a little easier,” he said. “This game was a big step for us, and I thought we took care of business pretty well. I know this doesn’t necessarily lock up a playoff spot for us, but we did what we had to do to give ourselves a pretty good chance. Our defense has been playing strong all season, and they came through with a great effort against a good Oak Harbor team.”

Snohomish took advantage of three turnovers by Oak Harbor to build a 17-0 lead after one quarter.

The Panthers recovered the first Wildcat fumble at the Snohomish 30 yard-line, then marched 70 yards to score on Jeff Rodland’s 1-yard run. Derek Bennion’s PAT was good, giving his team a 7-0 lead.

Oak Harbor then fumbled the ball away again, but this time deep in its own territory. Snohomish converted the turnover into three points when Bennion kicked a 39-yard field goal to give the Panthers a 10-0 lead.

Disaster struck a third time for Oak Harbor when the ball once again came free on the ensuing possession and Snohomish took over at the Wildcat 29-yard-line. Four plays later Todd Olson scored from 7 yards out and Snohomish was up 17-0 with just 0:15 remaining in the opening quarter.

The Wildcats managed to avoid turnovers in the second quarter, but did give up a safety on a botched punt attempt to fall behind 19-0.

Jacob Darling’s 18-yard touchdown run for Snohomish wrapped up the first-half scoring, and Bennion’s third PAT left the Panthers ahead 26-0 at the 1:44 mark of the second quarter.

After a scoreless third quarter that featured one turnover by each team, Bennion started the fourth quarter for Snohomish with a 35-yard field goal to make the score 29-0.

Matt Ringstad scored Snohomish’s final points on a 2-yard run with just 3:04 to play. And Oak Harbor got on the board with a 10-yard run by Adam Diaz in the game’s final minute.

Snohomish-Rodland 1 run (Bennion kick)

Snohomish-FG Bennion 39

Snhomish-Olson 7 run (Bennion kick)

Snohomish-Safety, punter stepped out of end zone.

Snohomish-Darling 18 run (Bennion kick)

Snohomish-FG Bennion 35

Snohomish-Ringstad 2 run (kick blocked)

Oak Harbor-Diaz 10 run (Asmus kick)

Records-Oak Harbor 4-3 in league, 5-3 overall. Snohomish 5-2, 5-3.

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