Vikings sack Bengals for title

  • By David Pan Enterprise sports editor
  • Tuesday, August 10, 2010 9:21pm

More than a decade after their first and only appearance in the Northwest Football League championship game, the Snohomish County Vikings made the most of their second opportunity to win the title.

Quarterback Hal Bisnett threw for one touchdown and ran for another as Snohomish County defeated the Pierce County Bengals 21-14 Aug. 7 at Juanita High School’s Bergh Field in Kirkland.

The victory was especially sweet for Vikings head coach Wes Fischer, whose team lost to the Puget Sound Jets in the 1999 title contest.

“It’s been 11 years since we were in the championship game,” he said. “It’s a big deal.”

Fischer told his players after the game that even though some of them won several titles at the high school or collegiate level, they know championship contests don’t come around often.

“It doesn’t happen every year,” he said. “If you’re willing to put in the work, good things are rewarded.”

What stands out about the 2010 team is the talent level and how everyone worked together.

“This team can compete with anybody we’ve played in the past,” Fischer said. “This team was fun to work with. … You had very little bickering. It was players just working together to win ball games. This team has got to be one of the best. This was a fun season.”

Snohomish County finished 5-0 in the league, including Saturday’s victory, and was 6-3 overall.

The Vikings took a 7-0 lead on a 9-yard touchdown pass from Bisnett to wide receiver Patrick Sullivan. Bisnett followed up the score with a 1-yard quarterback sneak in the second quarter as Snohomish County led 14-0 at halftime.

Pierce County cut the lead to 14-7 in the third quarter before Alex Martinez returned a touchdown 57 yards for the Vikings’ final touchdown.

The Bengals ran the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown to cut the lead to 21-14.

“It’s hard to beat a team three times,” Fischer said. “In the second half, we ran a lot more. We were keeping them off the field. That helped us slow things down.”

In its two prior meetings, with Pierce County, Snohomish County rolled to 48-0 and 47-8 routs.

“The weather didn’t help us in our passing game,” Fischer said. “We had three long passes picked off.”

Bisnett nevertheless moved the offense effectively when he needed to, Fischer added.

“He’s a great talent,” Fischer said. “He’s done some things teams don’t expect. … He has a strong arm. He’s tall. He came out very strong. He’s so talented that if we can keep building on that he’s going to be a great recruiting tool getting great receivers out. He’s going to keep the talent coming out.”

Up front, Bisnett relied on offensive linemen George Hagens and Dustin Geveshausen for protection and to open holes for the team’s running backs.

“Those two guys worked well to hold down that line,” Fischer said. “George is almost like a coach on the field. He encourages and works with his teammates on technique.”

Defensive tackle Rich Lee-Kim also played tight end and the Vikings often rotated in other players.

“We had a load of linemen,” Fischer said. “They (opponents) had to play us a lot more honestly.”

Snohomish County has several standout running backs, including Marquise Moses, Travis Smith, Brandon Lewis and even defensive player Alex Martinez.

“We had plenty of backs,” Fischer said. “We kept them fresh. We kept a rotation going. We were able to eat up the clock and keep them off the field (in the second half).”

The defense turned in one of its better performances of the season. Led by linebacker Ivahoe Keo, Lee-Kim, Tom Fischer, Jordan Willis and Jacob Irwin, Snohomish County was a team that other clubs could not run on.

“These guys are great. They contributed all year long,” Fischer said. “It’s been years since we’ve had a defense as stingy as this one was.”

While the NWFL season is over, the Vikings likely will be playing at least one more game: its annual charity contest. Last year, Snohomish County collected 305 toys for the Toys for Tots campaign. This year’s beneficiary is yet to be determined but details will be announced on the NWFL website ( and the Vikings website (

The future looks solid for the Vikings as Fischer expects most of this year’s squad back.

“We could be a real force,” he said. “We expect 99 percent of the players to come back for sure.”

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