stomp on Monroe
Against Monroe (0-5 in Wesco North, 2-5 overall) Lake (3-1 and 5-2) looked like a team determined to earn its way into the State Playoffs three weeks down the road. The Vikings dominated in all phases of the game, putting a damper on the Bearcats’ Homecoming revelries.
What began as looking like another high scoring shootout -- Bearcat co-quarterback Austin Bray completed a 52-yard pass to wide open Connor Shelford on the game’s opening play -- quickly turned into a Viking pillage.
Two plays after Bray’s pass gave his team a first down on the Lake Stevens 30, J.J. McCarthy recovered a Bearcat fumble on the LS 25. That launched a 75-yard, seven-play Viking touchdown drive, during which Nick Baker completed three of four passes for 39 yards and scrambled for another 10-yard advance, and Duke Dolphin carried for a 22-yard gain.
The latter’s run set up Baker’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Colton Tupen on a perfectly-executed play-fake. Arvid Isaksen’s PAT kick (he was to be seven for seven in that department) gave Lake a 7-0 margin at 9:12 of the quarter.
The next time Lake got the ball it drove 51 yards in nine plays. This time Baker was three of three for 25 yards including a four-yard touchdown pass to Eric Huswick. 14-0 at 2:04 of the quarter.
The ensuing kickoff was a failed onside attempt, giving Monroe first down on its own 42, setting up (with the help of a pass interference penalty against Lake) Bryan Sonneveldt’s 18-yard touchdown pass seven plays later.
The pass was to a player unidentified in the Bearcat program. Mitchell Garino’s PAT kick cut the gap to 14-7, one second before the end of the second quarter.
Lake wasted no time in responding. McCarthy returned the kickoff 60 yards to the Monroe 17 and four plays from there Baker scored on a one-yard sneak. 21-7 at 10:04 of the second quarter.
Lake got the ball back a short time later via Sean Stickney’s interception on the Viking 49. Thirteen plays and three penalties later, Lake, having driven to the Bearcat seven, settled for Isaksen’s 24-yard field goal. 24-7, 3:06 shy of halftime.
Dolphin’s block of a Monroe punt gave Lake possession on the Bearcat 44 with 48 seconds remaining. After a 13-yard holding penalty against Lake, Baker completed three straight passes, 24 yards to Tupen, 27 yards to Trevor Riecks, and a six yard touchdown to Riecks. 31-7, with 20 seconds left.
Lake continued its relentless domination in the second half, on offense and on defense. The third quarter saw Dolphin touchdown runs of two and 35 yards. It became 52-7 early in the fourth quarter after reserve quarterback Chameron Lackey broke loose for a 69-yard scramble to the Bearcat 12-yard line. Three plays after that, Tyler Reside scooted around the left side for a five-yard touchdown.
Monroe scored the game’s final points, against Viking reserves, halfway through the quarter when Bray (who alternated with Sonneveldt at quarterback) completed a nine-yard touchdown pass to Shelford. Ryan Mielke’s block of the PAT kick finalized the score at 52-13.
Baker finished 19 of 28 for 224 yards, no interceptions, and three touchdowns (he has 21 of the latter for the season so far), while Dolphin’s busy game included 78 yards on seven carries for two touchdowns, a blocked punt, and six receptions for 64 yards.
Reserves played for much of the second half, and all contributed. Ross Jones and Brandon Preslar led the Vikings in tackles with 9 each followed by Sean Stickney and Dylan Youngblood with eight apiece.
Bo Dickinson sat out the game with an injured ankle but looks to play again next week.
The blowout win was much-needed for Tom Tri’s Vikings, who look to turn around their season. Lake’s execution was generally smooth and crisp, its demeanor focused and polished.
The offensive line, which broke down against Marysville, sustained its blocks, freeing up Baker and the running game. Lake’s overall 452-268 yardage advantage could signal its re-emergence as a State Playoff contender.
With two weeks left in the regular season, the Vikings are in position to snare one of Wesco North’s three berths.