Last Friday’s home field 41-20 win over Snohomish was a Jake Nelson highlight reel from start to finish. The senior Viking QB is having that kind of a season, accounting in just four games for 300 net yards rushing and 894 yards passing and 16 total touchdowns.
Nelson and Lake (4-0) face their biggest test of the season so far this Friday at Arlington (4-0) in one of the most highly-anticipated showdowns in years. The Wesco North title will probably be on the line when the two teams, who have combined for more than 2000 passing yards and are averaging 45 points per game each, collide.
Lake rang up 552 net yards and 23 first downs against Snohomish as the Vikings rolled with ease through the Panther defense, punting not even once.
Still, the Panthers, who were able on a few occasions to exploit the undersized Viking defensive line, made a game of it for most of the first half.
Snohomish, in fact, initially put a scare into the Vikings, scoring early in the game to take the lead.
Devin Guy sacked Panther QB Mitchell Stewart on the game’s first play from scrimmage, but two plays later Stewart connected with Riley Zerhire for a 16-yard completion, followed by Peter St. Marie’s 32-yard draw and another two plays later St. Marie’s 24-yard TD run through the left side of the Viking line. Mitchell Melander’s PAT made it 7-0 Panthers at 9:27.
It took Nelson two plays to even up the score, via a 12-yard completion to Quincy Carroll and a 39-yard TD pass to Brady Pahukoa. Tanner Sellars’ PAT knotted the score at 7-7 at 8:44.
Snohomish’s next possession went three-and-out thanks to Korey Young’s sack of Stewart. Lake took over following the punt on its own 33 and this time it required a dozen plays for Nelson to navigate his team to the go-ahead score. Nelson completed four of five passes during the drive, the longest one 12 yards to Ryan Enyeart, leading to an eight-yard Nelson TD run on a draw in which he scored untouched. 14-7 Lake, at 1:29 of the first quarter.
A Viking penalty denied Nelson a 74-yard TD pass to Shae Giddens at the outset of the second quarter and Lake subsequently turned over the ball on two of its next four offensive plays (a Pahukoa fumble following a reception and a Nelson interception). In between those two turnovers Juan Delgado blocked Isaac Meyer’s attempted 34-yard field goal at 4:53 of the second quarter.
Snohomish took full advantage of the rare Nelson turnover. A 15-yard personal foul penalty was tacked on to Garrett Stitch’s interception, giving Snohomish a first down on the Viking 14. Two plays later Russell Crippen romped untouched down the middle for a 12-yard TD. 14-14 with 4:42 left in the half.
On Lake’s third play from scrimmage after that Nelson raced around the right side for a 54-yard TD, his fourth long scintillating scoring run of the season thus far. 21-14 at 3:14.
Christian Gasca’s interception and 16-yard return to the Viking 35 with 45 seconds left in the half set up another Viking score. Nelson hit on four of five passes sandwiched around a 20-yard LS holding penalty, the last two completions to Gasca for 11 and 45 yards, the latter giving Lake first and goal from the five.
Rather than risk time running out Lake opted for a successful Sellars 22-yard field goal which gave the home team a 24-14 halftime lead.
Lake blew the game open with a four play, 70-yard TD drive to open the second half. Three straight Nelson completions turned the trick—16 yards to Gasca, nine to Pahukoa, and 43 to Gasca for the score. 31-14 Lake, at 10:02
Snohomish’s next possession gained 31 yards to the Viking 39, but was thwarted at that point when Guy and Anthony Blackie tackled Zerhire for a three-yard loss, forcing a Panther punt which went out of bounds on the Viking eight.
Ninety-two yards from paydirt? No problem for Nelson, who went three for five for 67 yards including 17 yards to Giddens, immediately followed by an 11-yard Giddens run, and a 41-yard TD pass to Pahukoa. 38-14 Lake, at 2:06 of the third quarter.
Gasca’s fumbled fair catch resulted in Snohomish’s final TD. Recovering on the Viking 37, Snohomish scored in six plays capped by Crippens’ 24-yard run virtually untouched down the middle. St. Marie’s attempted two-point PAT run was smothered by several Vikings short of the goal line, including Young, Guy, Andrew Elgean and Brandon Johnson. 38-20 Lake, at 9:20 of the fourth.
Lake nearly tacked on a late TD following a 27-yard Nelson to Gasca pass and Giddens’ nine-yard run to the Panther three. But Giddens fumbled on the next play, Nelson recovering on the nine. Two plays later Sellars made good on a 30-yard field goal (he is now three for three in that department) to close out the game’s scoring at 41-20 with 3:29 remaining.
Nelson completed 23 of 29 passes (with one interception) for 376 yards and three TDs. He rushed for 82 net yards in eight carries, with two TDs. Giddens netted 74 yards in 13 carries. St. Marie finished with 118 net yards in 21 carries.
Pahukoa’s seven catches gained 122 yards and two TDs. Gasca’s six receptions totaled 149 yards and a TD.
Viking backup QB Gavin O’Neil completed a seven-yard pass to Elgean on the game’s final play (Lake’s first non-Nelson pass attempt of the season so far).
Lake netted 169 rushing and 383 passing. Snohomish netted 171 yards rushing and 47 passing (four of 11 with one interception).
Lake had 23 first downs, Snohomish 13. Lake was penalized six times for 70 yards, Snohomish twice for 21 yards.
Young was credited with 18 tackles to lead the Vikings in that department, followed by Elgean with 12, Guy and Pahukoa 10 each, Delgado and Enyeart 9 each, Gasca 8.
Elgean now has 45 tackles for the season, Young 44.
Contributing QB sacks were Elgean, Guy and Young, one each.