SHORELINE — With a chance to start a season 3-0 for the first time in nearly a decade, the Mountlake Terrace High School football team simply wouldn’t be denied.
Senior running back Zaveon Jones was unstoppable and the Hawk defense came away with big plays in every crucial moment.
Jones ran wild for 265 yards and four touchdowns, junior Rayshaun Connor delivered a highlight-reel pick-six and Terrace cruised by Shorewood 35-0 in an early matchup of Wesco 3A South unbeatens Friday at Shoreline Stadium.
The victory earned the Hawks (3-0 overall, 2-0 Wesco 3A South) their first perfect start through three weeks since 2015.
“I’m extremely proud of this group of young men and the coaches included,” third-year Terrace coach Archie Malloy said. “We feel like we’re battle-tested. We know what to expect every single week when we line up in this league and we aspire to play to a high level, and our kids are doing that right now.”
The 3-0 start comes on the heels of a breakthrough five-win season in 2022 led by a junior-heavy squad that won only one game the season prior.
“It’s been amazing,” Jones said of the team’s recent success. “We’ve been putting in the work ever since we were freshmen. It’s been really crazy all the progress we’ve achieved over the years. Now we’re 3-0 because we’ve been putting in the work.”
Shorewood, which was looking to go 3-0 for the first time in at least 20 years, fell to 2-1 overall and 1-1 in Wesco 3A South play.
Jones scored on runs of 35, 41, 54 and 3 yards, and the 6-foot-2, 235-pound bruiser needed just seven carries to pile up 163 yards and three TDs in the first half. The area’s leading rusher now has 663 yards and nine TDs on the ground through three games.
Meanwhile, the Terrace defense forced three turnovers, three more turnovers on downs and two punts while recording their first shutout in four years.
“Our coaches had our kids prepared,” Malloy said of the defense. “They’re ready to play and our defense is just picking up steam right now. We’re playing great in all three phases of the game, and defense sets the tone for us.”
Senior Reid Petschl led the Stormrays with a hard-fought 83 yards on 24 carries.
Shorewood was able to move the ball early on many of its drives but couldn’t find a way to finish any off with a touchdown. The Stormrays’ tough night was complicated in the second quarter when starting quarterback Tyler Giles, who helped spearhead the rushing attack early on aside Petschl, exited the game.
Connor snuffed out a fake punt on Shorewood’s opening drive and set up the Hawks with a short field on the Stormrays’ 45-yard line. Two plays later, Jones took his first carry and raced straight to the end zone for a 35-yard score and 7-0 lead.
Jones came away with a fourth-down stop on the Stormrays’ following drive and ripped off his 41-yard TD on the third play after the Hawks to over.
Shorewood marched near the red zone on its next drive, but its 11-play effort ended on a fumble at the Terrace 25.
Five plays later, Jones went right up the middle for a 54-yard TD and 21-0 lead with 6:09 left in the half.
Connor picked off a pass on the ensuing drive and weaved through defenders and dodged a number of tackles before finding the sideline and sprinting in for a 54-yard TD and 28-0 lead with 2:08 until the break.
“Rayshaun’s a special player,” Malloy said. “… He’s a tailback, so what he did was utilize those tailback skills to get to the end zone.”
Jones busted a 45-yard run to start a fourth-quarter drive and capped it with a 3-yard plunge to go up 35-0 with 4:43 left.
“I’m incredibly proud of this team, this school, this community,” Malloy said. “… We are getting strong and stronger every single day, and that’s what we aspire to do.”