Mavericks pull out last-minute victory

  • David Pan<br>Enterprise sports editor
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 1:11pm


A high school football game is 48 minutes long, and the Meadowdale Mavericks needed 47-and-a-half to come out on top in their 3A state playoff game against the Evergreen Wolverines Nov. 9 at Highline Memorial Stadium.

Facing fourth-and-three at the Evergreen 6-yard line, Mavericks quarterback Matt McDonagh found tight end Jacob Clampitt wide open in the end zone for the decisive score in Meadowdale’s 20-19 triumph over the Wolverines.

“I saw the defender kind of fall down and I just knew I had to catch it no matter what,” Clampitt said.

Clampitt added a 25-yard touchdown catch in the first half and finished with four catches for 49 yards in a game played in a steady rainfall. The rain no doubt played a part in the contest’s sloppiness, as the teams combined for three fumbles and two interceptions, and it was the turnovers that proved the Wolverines’ undoing.

Meadowdale capitalized on an Evergreen turnover halfway through the opening quarter to take the early lead. After Evergreen quarterback Luther Leonard completed a pass to Charles Webster, Meadowdale’s A. J. Carroll forced Webster to fumble and recovered on Evergreen’s 44-yard line.

Nine plays later, Tonna Njoku scampered into the end zone from 20 yards out and the point after kick made it 7-0 Meadowdale.

Evergreen answered about as quickly as the jets taking off from nearby Sea-Tac airport. The Wolverines’ Nuve Kongaika took the handoff on the first play from scrimmage 55 yards for the score and the PAT tied it 7-7 with 1:58 left in the opening quarter.

Meadowdale’s methodical pace proved a sharp contrast to Evergreen’s quick strike. On the first play of the second quarter, McDonagh found Clampitt on a slant and Clampitt made the catch for a 25-yard touchdown and 14-7 lead.

But the Wolverines answered quickly yet again. Kirt Terry-Springs returned the ensuing kickoff 63 yards to the Meadowdale 12-yard line. Two plays later, Kyle Tunney scored from 6 yards out. The point after attempt was wide right.

A second turnover ruined another Wolverines’ scoring chance on their final possession of the half. Facing second-and-goal with six seconds left in the half after a 25-yard reception by Webster, Carroll intercepted Leonard’s pass at the 1-yard line.

“You gotta play defense this time of year,” Meadowdale head coach Mark Stewart said. “(Evergreen has) a lot of speed and they were gonna get a lot of things done. We were able to contain them enough.”

After a scoreless third quarter, Leonard hit receiver Charles Webster in stride for a 46-yard touchdown. The Wolverines failed to convert the two-point try, and led the Mavericks 19-14 with 11:54 left in the contest.

But Evergreen’s final turnover would prove their costliest of the season. Tunney fumbled on the Wolverines’ next drive and Meadowdale recovered on Evergreen’s 43-yard line.

“That was like a sign,” Clampitt said. “We didn’t do very much on offense the whole second half and finally we get a break.”

McDonagh’s pass to Clampitt capped Meadowdale’s improbable comeback and sends it to the quarterfinals against O’Dea.

“It was an even football game,” Stewart added. “We just made a play at the end and were fortunate to win.”

The Meadowdale defense put an exclamation point on the victory, sacking Leonard on fourth down with no time left on the clock.

“(Evergreen) played with their hearts,” Evergreen head coach Shaun Tarantola said. “(But) when it comes down to it, playoff football and state, the team that makes more mistakes usually doesn’t come out on top.”

Jesse Geleynse writes for The Herald in Everett.

Talk to us