SEATTLE — Friday night’s football game between No. 2-ranked O’Dea and No. 3 Marysville Pilchuck was dominated by a speedy, shifty running back who has verbally committed to play football in the Pac-12.
Unfortunately for the Tomahawks, it wasn’t Austin Joyner.
Joyner was forced to watch from the sidelines with a hip injury as O’Dea senior Myles Gaskin, a University of Washington commit, rushed for three touchdowns and returned a punt for another score to lead the Fighting Irish to a 34-10 non-conference victory.
The Tomahawks got on the scoreboard first with a 39-yard field goal by senior Sebastian Navarro, taking advantage of an O’Dea turnover.
But Gaskin quickly answered.
On the second offensive play of O’Dea’s next possession, he broke off a 70-yard touchdown run to give the Fighting Irish a 7-3 lead.
“When you are facing a back like No. 6 (Gaskin), you have to make plays when you have chances to make plays,” Marysville Pilchuck coach Brandon Carson said. “You can’t miss opportunities.”
Gaskin’s first touchdown run was one of just two big plays allowed by a Marysville Pilchuck defense that kept the Tomahawks in the game in the first half.
Without Joyner, the bulk of Marysville Pilchuck’s normally potent running game fell on the shoulders of Hunter Trueax, Killian Page and JJ Valencia.
“The trainer ruled (Joyner) out on Tuesday, so we knew going in (to the game), Carson said. “We had some guys step up, maybe not statistically, but we had some guys step up and play some pretty darn good football games tonight. He should be ready to go next week.”
Trueax, Page and Valencia combined for just 65 yards in the first half, in large part because a swarming O’Dea defense, which shut out its first two opponents this season.
“That’s probably one of the better defensive teams we’ve seen in some time,” Carson said. “You’ve just got to scratch and grind and claw to get every inch you can against these guys because the holes, they’re there for a second and they close super fast.”
Marysville Pilchuck finished the game with 239 rushing yards, most of which came in the fourth quarter.
The Fighting Irish led 13-3 at halftime and built on that lead on their first possession of the third quarter. After Gaskin kept the drive alive by converting on a fourth-down run, he scored his second touchdown of the game — this time from 19 yards out.
After a lengthy Marysville Pilchuck possession resulted in a turnover on downs, Gaskin struck again. His third rushing touchdown was from 56 yards out and broke the game open.
“We’ve got to play a little bit better,” Carson said. “We were playing a heck of a football team over there and you have to limit your mistakes against great football teams.”
Gaskin finished the game with 202 yards on just eight carries. Counting the 64-yard punt return for a touchdown he added in the fourth quarter, he touched the ball nine times and accounted for 266 yards and four touchdowns.
Asked about his first-hand impressions of Gaskin after the game, Carson kept his answer simple.
“He’s really good,” he said.
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on Twitter at @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At West Stadium Seattle
Marysville Pilchuck 3 0 07 —10
O’Dea 7 6 21 0 — 34
MP—Sebastian Navarro 39 FG
O’Dea—Myles Gaskin 70 run (Robert Gerarden kick)
O’Dea—Davarea Proctor 8 run (kick blocked)
O’Dea—Gaskin 19 run (Gerarden kick)
O’Dea—Gaskin 56 run (Gerarden kick)
O’Dea—Gaskin 64 punt return (Gerarden kick)
MP—Killian Page 1 run (Navarro kick)
Records–Marysville Pilchuck 2-1, O’Dea 3-0.