Same song, different verse.
Last year Lake Stevens and Monroe tied for the Wesco 4A North championship but Monroe got the number one seed to advance to the overall Wesco championship game.
This year, Lake and Monroe again share the North title but this time it is Lake (3-1 in Wesco, 5-3 overall) which earned the number one seed and thus will host undefeated Edmonds-Woodway (5-0 and 8-0) this Friday at 7 p.m. for the overall Wesco crown.
That scenario was created last Friday night when Lake won at home against Snohomish 48-11 while Monroe was pulling off a miraculous 25-24 overtime win at Mt. Vernon. Had Monroe not won, Lake would have shared the North title with Mt. Vernon and the latter would have advanced to play for the league championship, with Lake relegated to the third place game. Mt. Vernon’s loss eliminated it entirely from the Playoffs, allowing Arlington to sneak in.
Lake’s victory against winless Snohomish may have been a foregone conclusion but the Panthers did throw a tiny scare into the Vikings when they grabbed an early 3-0 lead.
Lake punted on fourth-and-two on its initial possession of the game and on the Panthers’ first play from scrimmage quarterback Tanner Arrington broke free for a 32-yard gain to the Viking 27. Four plays later, Uriel Herrera booted a 42-yard field goal which nicked the crossbar, giving the visitors a 3-0 lead at 8:47 of the first quarter.
But Snohomish never came close to scoring again until it tallied a touchdown against Viking reserves in the game’s final minute with the “running clock” in effect.
Lake, meanwhile rang up 48 consecutive points, 41 of them before halftime.
Viking quarterback Jacob Eason continued his hot streak, completing 16 of 22 passes with no interceptions, for 253 yards and three touchdowns. Eason finished the regular season with 2041 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Austin Otis, as always, bolstered Lake’s running game, rushing for 126 yards in 13 carries and three touchdowns. Otis has thus far netted 1220 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Viking defense has so far sacked opposing quarterbacks 18 times, while the Viking O-line has yielded just two sacks. Lineman Evan Miksch has already established the Viking career record of 20 sacks, and counting.
Linebacker C.J. Lat, with 13 tackles versus Snohomish, upped his season total to 136 in his pursuit of the school record of 160 for a season.
Against Snohomish, Lake took a 7-3 lead at 3:58 of the first quarter on an eight-play, 80-yard drive (which covered 90 yards due to a holding penalty) including three Eason completions, the big one a 44-yarder to Riley Krenz which set up a two-yard Otis touchdown. Ignacio Ponce added the PAT kick (he was successful on six of his seven tries for the game).
Lake scored again on its next possession, this time going 73 yards in six plays including Eason to Krenz for 32 yards and a 14-yard TD toss to Tevin Gray with 1:04 left in the quarter.
Krenz finished with 108 yards on four receptions and a TD. His brother Tanner, a senior, whose pre-season injury ended his Viking career prematurely, sang the National Anthem prior to the game. Tanner’s loss is a huge one for the Vikings, who were looking forward to his playing key roles in offense and defense as well as benefitting from his leadership qualities.
Viking seniors were honored before the game, and former Viking football player and wrestler Joe Smiley was inducted into the Viking Hall Of Fame at halftime.
Lake outscored Snohomish 27-0 in the second quarter to put the game away at 41-3 at halftime.
Those four TDs occurred as follows:
Andrew Grimes’ 26-yard punt return was immediately followed by Eason’s 20-yard scoring pass to Krenz.
A 29-yard Otis run and three Eason completions paved the way for a 4-yard Otis TD rush.
Krenz snared a Snohomish pass and returned it 80 yards for a TD.
A 43-yard Eason to Justin Brown pass led to Eason’s one-yard TD toss to Gavin O’Neil.
On Lake’s first possession of the second half Otis ran for a 45-yard TD for a 48-3 Viking lead, initiating the dreaded “running clock” which limited Lake to 11 offensive plays in the game’s final 21 minutes.
Snohomish’s Connor Browne rushed for a 2-yard TD with 1:13 left and “Player whose number was not listed in the Snohomish program” passed to another “Player whose number was not listed in the Snohomish program” for a two-point conversion which closed out the game’s scoring at 48-11.
Lake’s yardage advantage for the game was 421-162.