STANWOOD — The Stanwood Spartans ensured their season will last into November.
Jalen Velasquez and Kaiser Hezel each had a pair of interceptions, and Tyler Rich rushed for 163 yards and two scores as the Spartans defeated Meadowdale 30-9 in a Wesco 3A tiebreaker Tuesday night at Bob Larson Field.
With the win, Stanwood (5-5) earned its first trip to the postseason since the 2009 season.
The Spartan’s reward? A Saturday matchup against top-ranked Eastside Catholic (8-0).
Nevertheless, Tuesday’s win meant a frigid Gatorade shower for head coach Eric Keizer as the costume-clad student body rushed the field.
“It’s been so long and everybody needs to celebrate,” Keizer said.
The Spartans also got two touchdown runs from Brock Wilfong on his only two carries of the night, and a 34-yard field goal from Velasquez.
The Spartans led 14-7 at the half. Wilfong then took an inside handoff 10 yards for his second touchdown of the game as Stanwood increased its lead to 20-7 at 7:19 in the third quarter.
“Watching (Meadowdale’s) games, they’re susceptible to the run,” Keizer said. “As teams grinded it out with the run and it got into the third quarter and fourth quarter, we noticed a lot of yards after contact. So that was our game plan — just to come in and play smashmouth football.”
Velasquez and Hezel ended each of Meadowdale’s next two drives with interceptions.
However, Hezel’s pick came at the 1-yard line and Trygve DeBoer was tackled in the end zone on the next snap for a safety as Meadowdale cut the deficit to 20-9.
But Stanwood forced a fumble on the ensuing Meadowdale possession, and Velasquez’s field goal pushed the lead to 23-9.
Rich sealed the game with a 15-yard scoring scamper with 3 minutes to go in the game.
Wilfong initially gave the Spartans their first lead with a 54-yard touchdown run at 8:04 in the second quarter for a 14-7 lead.
Hezel and Velasquez then stopped Meadowdale’s next two drives with interceptions as the Spartans took a 14-7 lead into the half.
“The defense has gotten better every week and we feel like we can play with anybody,” Keizer said. They’re doing a good job every week.”
Meadowdale had used an interception of its own to take the game’s first lead when Will Moloney’s 45-yard pick-six gave the Mavericks a 7-0 lead at 8:51 in the first quarter.
But the Spartans took advantage of a Meadowdale fumble later in the quarter, and Rich capped a 49-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run at 1:55 to tie the game 7-7.