MARYSVILLE — Last week, it was Jordan Justice breaking long touchdown runs and racking up big stats.
This time, it was backfield mate Dylan Carson’s turn.
Carson rushed for two long touchdowns early in the third quarter and the ninth-ranked Marysville Pilchuck High School football team moved one step closer to a Wesco 3A North title with a 42-14 win over visiting Ferndale on Friday night at Quil Ceda Stadium.
“They took Justice away a little bit, and that opened up some lanes for Dylan to run through,” Tomahawks coach Brandon Carson said. “And that’s just kind of how our offense rolls. Sometimes they take the fullback away and we got our wing backs going. Tonight they took the wing back away and we got our fullback going.”
With the victory, Marysville Pilchuck set up a de facto Wesco 3A North title game against Arlington in next week’s regular-season finale. The Tomahawks (7-0, 5-0 Wesco 3A North) currently are one game ahead of the second-place Eagles in the league standings.
“It’s a big one,” Brandon Carson said of next week’s winner-take-all showdown. “It’s for a league title. That’s why these kids lift the weights and go to the camps and do all that stuff — to be able to play in games like this.”
Dylan Carson, a sophomore, finished with 269 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries. The hard-running fullback broke long scoring runs of 80 and 66 yards on Marysville Pilchuck’s first two offensive plays of the second half, extending a seven-point lead to a 35-14 margin.
Dylan Carson’s massive performance came one week after Justice ran for 217 yards and four touchdowns on just 10 carries against Marysville Getchell.
Friday was yet another enormous night on the ground for Marysville Pilchuck’s deceptive Slot-T attack, which averages 8.5 yards per carry and 334 yards rushing per game. The Tomahawks’ big offensive line helped clear the way for Carson and Justice, holding their own against a Ferndale defensive front headlined by University of Washington commit Geirean Hatchett.
“Our offensive line did a phenomenal job tonight,” Brandon Carson said. “They did a good job against a really good team.”
A CRAZY START
It took all of six seconds for Marysville Pilchuck to get on the scoreboard.
The game’s opening kickoff landed in front of Ferndale’s returner and bounced over his head, forcing him to retreat back to the goal line to scoop up the ball. Then after he ran out to about the 10-yard line, the Tomahawks knocked the ball free and dove on it in the end zone for a touchdown and a quick 7-0 lead.
“It just kind of set the tone,” Dylan Carson said.
BACK-AND-FORTH FIRST HALF
After its opening kickoff debacle, Ferndale responded with a 14-play, 78-yard touchdown drive.
Marysville Pilchuck answered right back, with standout senior Dillon Kuk returning the opening kickoff past midfield. Four plays later, Carson ran for a 7-yard score to put the Tomahawks back in front.
Ferndale (3-4, 3-2) evened the score in the second quarter on a 24-yard touchdown run by Ryan Pelton, but once again it didn’t take long for Marysville Pilchuck to respond.
On the second play of the ensuing drive, Ferndale’s defense bit on an inside fake and Justice burst around the right side for a 47-yard touchdown run to give the Tomahawks a 21-14 lead.
CARSON’S BIG THIRD QUARTER
In just two offensive plays, Dylan Carson turned a one-possession game into a 21-point contest.
On the first snap of the second half, Dylan Carson burst through a lane up the middle and raced down the right sideline for an 80-yard score.
Then after Marysville Pilchuck’s defense forced a three-and-out, Dylan Carson found another hole up the middle and sprinted for a 66-yard touchdown, extending the lead to 35-14 just two minutes into the third quarter.
“He did a great job,” said Brandon Carson, who is Dylan’s father. “He busted some long runs, (but) some of his best runs were the (short runs) where we needed a first down. … The 80-yard stuff, that comes from time to time. But man, he ran hard tonight. I’m real proud of him, and good thing he runs like his mother.”
FLIPPING THE SCRIPT
Marysville Pilchuck’s win ended a three-game losing skid to Ferndale. Since joining the Wesco 3A North in 2016, the Golden Eagles had routed the Tomahawks by a combined 137-35 margin over the past three seasons.
Marysville Pilchuck: The Tomahawks travel to face Arlington (6-1, 5-1) next Friday night in a de facto Wesco 3A North title game. Arlington’s 17-10 win over Marysville Pilchuck in last year’s regular-season finale kept the Tomahawks out of the postseason.
Ferndale: After back-to-back conference losses, the Golden Eagles look to rebound at home against Stanwood (2-5, 1-4) next Friday night.