Vikings open football season with two home winsMIKE ANDERTON | CONTRIBUTING WRITER Lake Stevens’ 2007 football season has gotten off to a promising start with a pair of homefield wins, 41-14 over Stanwood on August 31 and 26-20 against Mountlake Terrace on September 7
Lake looks good to qualify for the State Playoffs again this year as one of four Wesco North teams favored to battle it out for the league’s two spots in the post-season.
Lake rallied to win several close games down the stretch last season, including handing the Wildcats their only loss of the season, a 24-21 classic which rates as one of the greatest Viking wins ever.
LAKE 41, STANWOOD 14
Lake ended four years of frustration against the Spartans by blowing out to an early lead and coasting to a big win. The Vikings looked especially sharp for a season opener, scoring on its first four possessions of the game and breezing to a 34-0 halftime lead.
Lake averaged 12 yards a play in accumulating 476 total yards, and the big early lead allowed Coach Tom Tri to clear his bench (30 different Vikings were credited with at least one tackle).
Contributing a “career game” was Dustin Adams, who touched the ball four times and scored four touchdowns, three of them on passes by Nick Baker of 28, 69, and 37 yards and another when he recovered a Stanwood fumble in the end zone (after Devin Papka and other Viking defenders jarred the ball out of the Spartan quarterback’s grasp).
Meanwhile, Isaac Molstre, coming off his 1,497 rushing yards season in 2006, took up where he left off by gaining 154 yards in 14 carries including a 56-yard touchdown run to open the second quarter, expanding Lake’s lead at that point to 27-0.
Baker, in his first varsity start, was 7 for 9 with no interceptions, for 172 yards and three perfectly thrown TD tosses to Adams. Baker also scored a touchdown on a one-yard sneak.
Fullback Clark Ferrucci powered for 54 yards in just four carries, and at linebacker he led his team with 14 tackles (Papka had 10.
Stanwood, behind Ryan Norman (27 carries for 138 yards and two touchdowns), managed to get its ground game going in the second half, but not before Lake had salted the win away.
LAKE 26, MOUNTLAKE TERRACE 20
Lake, a huge favorite here, nearly succumbed to overconfidence and lack of concentration against Wesco South’s Hawks in a non-league struggle. Lethargic in its 6-0 win over Terrace last year, Lake was even more so this time, spotting the Hawks an early 13-0 lead before stringing together 26 straight points and hanging on at the end.
A shocking start? How about touchdowns of 71 and 87 yards the first two times Terrace touched the ball. Quarterback Tony Ellersick found Percy Anyimah all alone for a 71-yard touchdown pass on the game’s first play from scrimmage.
Lake responded with a 66-yard drive to the Terrace 13 where a bobbled snap botched a Viking field goal try.
Terrace took over and on its first play from there Billy Lechtenberg bolted up the middle untouched for an 87-yard touchdown run 13-0 Hawks, 3:39 left in the first quarter.
On Lake’s next possession it fumbled the ball away on the Hawk 47, but got it back again two plays later Molstre intercepted an Ellersick pass, then lost it again 5 plays later on another fumble on the Terrace 14. A sack of Ellersick by Papka and Dylan Youngblood led to a punt returned 19 yards by Molstre to the Hawk 19, and on the next play Molstre broke several tackles on his way to a 19-yard touchdown run.
The missed extra point try left Terrace ahead 13-6, with 9:29 left in the half. Trevor Riecks intercepted Ellersick on Terrace’s next possession, returning it 8 yards to the Hawk 44.
Runs of 11, 10 and 8 yards by Molstre set up consecutive carries of 2, 8 and 4 yards by Ferrucci, the latter for a TD with 2:37 left. Lake elected to go for two but Baker’s fumble left the Vikings trailing 13-12, which turned out to be the halftime score.
Lake received the second half kickoff and was to travel 65 yards in 7 plays to finally take the lead, on Molstre’s 29-yard run, set up by Baker’s 13-yard pass to Bo Dickinson. That same combo earned Lake a two-point conversion and a 20-13 lead, with 8:49 left in the quarter.
A thirteen-play, 88-yard scoring drive early in the fourth quarter padded that lead to 26-13 with 8:05 left. Highlights of the drive were Dickinson’s 17-yard run and his 28-yard reception from Baker, with Ferrucci powering home the touchdown from 5 yards out.
There was still time for Terrace to put together a 13-play, 67-yard touchdown drive of its own, Eric Alley scoring from the one with 2:33 left, pulling the Hawks to within a scary 26-20.
But Lake was able to recover the obligatory onside kick, and with a boost from a 32-yard Ferrucci run was on the Terrace four-yard-line as time expired.
Relieved to get the “W” but dismayed by mental errors, penalties, an ineffective kicking game, and lack of focus, Vikings and their coaches and fans were left hoping that this narrow escape would teach the team a classic lesson: be ready to play -- never underestimate the opposition.
Not many more chances remain for that anyway, with Snohomish, Cascade and Oak Harbor awaiting Lake later in the season.