Mountlake Terrace’s Zaveon Jones sheds a defender after taking a handoff against Snohomish on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023, at Edmonds Stadium in Edmonds, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Mountlake Terrace’s Zaveon Jones sheds a defender after taking a handoff against Snohomish on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023, at Edmonds Stadium in Edmonds, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Terrace holds off late rally, downs Snohomish in Wesco 3A South bout

Zaveon Jones rushes for 252 yards and 3 TDs, Owen Boswell adds clutch INT as Hawks claim 35-21 win.

EDMONDS — Fending off a late scare in Week 2, the Mountlake Terrace football team showed its big-play ability down the stretch.

The Hawks’ lone freshman defensive back, Owen Boswell, provided perhaps the most impactful play of the night, taking an interception back to the house as Terrace closed out Wesco 3A South league rival Snohomish 35-21 at Edmonds Stadium.

Terrace’s punishing ground game did the trick for the Hawks. Senior running back Zaveon Jones rushed to the tune of 252 yards on 26 carries (three touchdowns), and added a 51-yard screen reception on the game’s opening snap for good measure.

“The deal with Bos getting that pick, we gave him a hard time coming in,” Terrace head coach Archie Malloy said. “We don’t anoint any freshman. Last year, Nate Brown started off his freshman career by causing a fumble on a kickoff return, so we told him that he’s got a lot to live up to. Tonight, he grabs that ball out of the air and showed the special promise and special talent that he has.”

The Hawks (2-0) clubbed the Panthers (0-2) in the run game, particularly in the first half as they opened up a 21-0 lead in the second quarter. The 235-pound Jones lit up the Snohomish front line with 163 first-half rushing yards, as it took multiple bodies and gang tackles to bring him down. Sophomore Nate Brown chipped in 23 yards and a TD on seven carries.

“Up front tonight I thought we did a great job on both sides of the ball,” Malloy said. “When you got a back like Zaveon Jones running behind that offensive line, we’re able to overcome a lot of mistakes, but we got a lot of stuff to clean up as well.”

Snohomish pecked away at the Hawks’ early three-score cushion as soon as its passing game got rolling.

Junior signal caller David Hammer went 34-for-54 for 318 yards through the air, throwing three touchdowns with two interceptions that would prove costly.

“First of all, credit to them,” Malloy said. “They’re an established program and we aspire to be in that realm. They did what we thought great teams would do, they made adjustments and made plays. That quarterback’s a heckuva player, he started doing some check-downs and started exploiting some of the areas we need to clean up.”

After Jones waltzed into the end zone from the 5-yard line with 2:31 left before intermission, the Panthers showed signs of life as they minmized damage heading into the locker room.

Hammer led Snohomish on a 12-play, 71-yard drive in the final two minutes and change, going 10-for-12 on his passes before finding senior Ryan Steppe (five catches, 33 yards) in the end zone for a 10-yard leaping grab with two seconds left in the half.

With possession to begin the third quarter, the Panthers continued to make it difficult for Terrace to pull away. Hammer lofted up a 49-yard TD pass to junior Parker Jackson to cap a four-play, 70-yard drive to make it 21-13 with 10:52 left in the third. Jackson finished with 11 catches for 118 yards.

Jones turned it back around, ripping off a 37-yard gainer which set up his third TD from 10 yards out as Terrace led 28-13 a the 7:50 mark of the third period.

On the Panthers’ ensuing drive, Hawks two-way star senior Logan Tews reeled in an interception, ending an 11-play possession for Snohomish.

With the game’s finishing touches in grasp, Mountlake Terrace coughed it back up to the Panthers as junior Apollo Mason picked off Arian Motaghedi with 3:33 left in the frame.

Snohomish carved out a 16-play drive that would spill into the fourth quarter, ending it’s longest offensive trek of the night with a 16-yard TD pass to Cole Bedard. After a two-point conversion, Snohomish pulled within a single score before the contest reached its peak moment.

The Panthers pounced on an onside kick, claiming possession with a chance to even the score late in the fourth, but the game-tying drive was deflated as Boswell took his pick to the house with less than 5 minutes to go.

“It’s a journey,” Malloy said of his team’s hot start. “When I took this program over three years ago, the kids bought into us and its now our time to step up, time to start start making plays. And, that’s what they did tonight. They bought into us hook, line and sinker. Our program is trending in the right direction (and) as we divide out the labor amongst our players, kids are wanting more and more. They’re playing at a high level right now.”

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