EVERETT — Their styles couldn’t be more different and their battles couldn’t be more intense.
Using a clash of offensive attacks, the Meadowdale Mavericks and the Kamiak Knights kept the Goddard Stadium crowd gasping until the final minute Sept. 3 in a Western Conference South Division football season opener.
In the end Mark Iddins, a budding star making his first varsity start, guided pass-happy Kamiak to a wild come-from-behind victory over run-based Meadowdale. Iddins connected with wide receiver Rebel Hall for a 19-yard touchdown with one minute to play in the fourth quarter and the Knights went on to defeat the Mavericks 11-7.
“I’m very pleased with our kids, how they kept their poise on that last drive,” Kamiak coach Dan Mack said. “A lot of pressure on young high school kids …”
Iddins didn’t even flinch. He finished 26-for-35 for 270 yards and the touchdown, which came on a crossing route over the middle.
“He’s been in our program for four years,” Mack said of Iddins. “He understands the game and he’s confident enough to execute under pressure.”
Hall caught 10 passes for 119 yards and the winning score.
Kamiak used a hot passing game to control the ball for most of the night but the Knights (1-0) flubbed several excellent scoring opportunities. They trailed 7-3 until the three-minute mark of the fourth quarter when senior linebacker Chris Munoz blocked Joe Bartowski’s punt at Meadowdale’s 15-yard line.
The ball skittered out of the right corner of the end zone for a safety, pulling Kamiak to within 7-5. Following a Meadowdale (0-1) kickoff, the Knights drove 60 yards in 1:54 to win it.
Meadowdale’s Demetri Huffman also made his first varsity start as a quarterback. He was 5-for-11 for 82 yards, a TD and an interception that ended the Mavs’ final rally. Kamiak defensive back Thomas Callandret got the pick. Huffman also ran for 37 yards.
Just like last season, when Kamiak edged Meadowdale 28-25 in overtime, also at Goddard, the Mavericks fell just short.
“It’s early in the season,” Meadowdale coach Mark Stewart said. “We wanted to win. I mean, that hurt. We’ve been winning a lot of games (the past few seasons) and that’s one team we wanted to beat.”
Meadowdale jumped from Class 3A competition to 4A this season, and the Mavericks could end up fighting Kamiak for a playoff spot.
“(Kamiak) is a great program,” Stewart added. “Dan Mack does a good job and we want to try to get up there and win the game. We played ‘em close, but unfortunately we made enough mistakes to lose.”
“They played great defense,” Huffman said of Kamiak. “(And) we didn’t execute. I mean, it was the first game. Next game we’ll be great.
“I think we showed the league that we can run with anybody.”
The two teams finished tied (6-3) in the Wesco South last season, and last Friday’s season-opening game was billed as a matchup of potential league favorites. For now, Kamiak has all the momentum, thanks in part to a new passing standout.
“That was awesome,” said Iddins, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound senior. “I was a little nervous coming out, but after that first play I felt really comfortable out there.”
Iddins, who replaced Washington State recruit Gary Rogers, established himself as a passing threat early. He completed his first five passes and finished the first half 13-for-17 for 148 yards.
The Knights spoiled several touchdown opportunities with penalties, big losses inside the Meadowdale 20-yard line and a sure-TD drop by Hall in the first half. Still, the Knights scored first when senior kicker Jordan Hawkinson made a 38-yard field goal to cap Kamiak’s first drive of the second quarter.
Travis Anderson rushed 18 times for 62 yards for Meadowdale, which was scoreless in the first half but got on the board with a touchdown in the third. Huffman found Romanyuk wide-open in the right corner for a TD and kicker Nick Tashe added the point-after kick to put the Mavs up 7-3.
Mike Cane writes for the Herald in Everett.