Lynnwood could not have started out any better against Jackson.
The Royals took the opening kickoff, marched 71 yards on 10 plays and took a 7-0 lead on a 20-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Andrew Beatty to senior wide receiver Curtis Wisser.
But little else went right for the Royals as the Timberwolves scored six unanswered touchdowns en route to a 42-7 victory in a Western Conference South Division football game Sept. 28 at Everett Stadium.
Lynnwood coach Dorian Manza was both shocked and puzzled by Friday’s result, especially following what he regarded as a solid effort in a 35-6 loss two weeks ago against undefeated Edmonds-Woodway.
“It’s just disappointing because against Edmonds-Woodway I thought we played really tough,” the first-year Royals head coach said after the game. “We were never blown out of that game. I feel like we got blown out tonight.”
What was puzzling to Manza was Lynnwood’s struggles on offense after the opening drive.
The Royals took the ball from their own 21 and the offense had little trouble moving the ball against the Wolfpack defense. Lynnwood’s confidence was high.
On the ensuing kickoff, Jackson’s Cole Plummer returned the ball 52 yards to the Lynnwood 30. Four plays later, junior running back Taylor Cox scored on an 18-yard run to tie the score at 7 with 7:02 remaining in the first quarter.
Cox’s touchdown was the beginning of the end for the Royals (2-3 in the league, 2-3 overall).
Lynnwood went three-and-out on its next drive and Jackson (2-2, 2-3) took the ball from its own 43 and moved down to the Lynnwood 2. The Timberwolves then caught a break when running back Daniel Reimer pounced on a Wolfpack fumble in the end zone and the Timberwolves took a 14-7 lead. The Royals punted and turned the ball over on downs twice on their next three offensive possessions.
“We just didn’t make it happen,” Manza said. “I think our confidence got a little shaken and we had a big letdown.”
Jackson didn’t make any adjustments on defense, but coach Joel Vincent and his staff did have to remind his players to properly execute their assignments. The Wolfpack’s defensive ends were instructed to stay outside and to contain Lynnwood.
“We really didn’t change anything,” Vincent said. “(The players) were in the right place. They just weren’t doing their assignments.”
Manza called a variety of plays but the Timberwolves seemed to have an answer to whatever the Royals ran.
“Their defense did a great job,” Manza said. “We put together that drive and came down and scored on them. They seemed to have things in line for what we were doing. I ran a lot of different plays and they were right there.”
Senior quarterback Beatty was under heavy pressure the entire night. Beatty completed 4 of 14 passes for 82 yards. He had one touchdown and one interception.
“We didn’t have enough time to throw,” Manza said. “We’ve got to definitely do some work with our offensive line. I think they got beat up a little bit tonight. I don’t think they were getting it done.”
The defensive line also struggled to contain Cox, who rushed for 196 yards on 30 carries and scored two touchdowns. Cox ran for a 14-yard score in the second quarter as Jackson went into halftime with a 21-7 advantage.
The junior running back also completed 2-of-2 passes, including a 46-yard touchdown to Trevor Bray on a halfback option play in the third quarter that boosted the Jackson lead to 28-7.
“We need to tighten up our defense, our run defense” Manza said. “We’ve given up a lot of yards on the ground these last two games. … I feel like we’ve been a pretty solid team this season. Tonight was not who we are.”
In the fourth quarter, Jackson sophomore quarterback Andy Gay found junior wide receiver Jordan Kellington on a 22-yard touchdown pass and senior running back Brandon Bell scored on a 2-yard run.
Lynnwood plays Meadowdale at 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 5 in a 3A showdown with major playoff implications. Two of the five 3A teams in the Wesco South and North divisions advance to the postseason. Arlington (2-2) and Meadowdale (2-2) currently are ahead of Lynnwood (2-3), Everett (1-4) and Shorecrest (1-4).
“We’re not worried. We’re going to come out and play hard on Friday night,” Manza said.