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Vikings beat Mariner 52-7; Wesco title on the line this Friday at Kamiak


Kathy Hahn

Quarterback Jacob Eason completing a pass.

Mission accomplished at Lake’s homecoming last Friday night, a 52-7 win over Mariner, setting up the Wesco 4A championship game this Friday vs. Kamiak at Goddard Stadium in Mukilteo.  Both teams are 5-0 in Wesco, 6-1 overall (both losing a non-league game vs. Marysville-Pilchuck early in the season).

    Lake led Mariner (3-2 and 3-4) by 26-7 at halftime but it was not a comfortable situation for the Vikings at that point.

    In the game’s opening two and a half minutes Lake lost to injury two of its key defensive linemen, Lars Eklund  and Michael Nelson.  Eklund’s injury appeared to be the more serious of the two, while Nelson’s clearance to play vs. Kamiak is questionable.

    Their absence undoubtedly contributed to Mariner being able to stick to its game plan (at least in the first half) of riding running back Dyonte Law, averaging more than 200 yards a game in Mariner’s previous three games (all wins) in a ball-control ground attack. 

    To some extent that ploy was successful, as Mariner executed 30 rushing plays for 131 net yards (109 in 17 carries by Law) in the first half and 38 plays overall to just 16 by Lake, with the Marauders holding a 178-166 yardage advantage during that time.

    Yet Lake, behind Jacob Eason’s usual razor-sharp passing, was able to surge to a 26-0 lead before Mariner could finally score (for the first and last time) just before halftime.

    Eason completed eight of 10 passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns in the half, the first a two-yard dart to Josh Rasmussen at 4:36 in the first quarter, the second a 24-yarder caught by Tevin Gray on the opening play of the second quarter.

    Gray’s TD followed a safety against Mariner’s punter who stepped out of the back of the end zone while attempting to kick.  That gave Lake a 9-0 lead at 1:19 of the first quarter and was set up on the previous play by a quarterback sack shared by three Vikings — Chris Lasater, Ryder Fouts and John McCollum.

    Mariner’s frustration started with its opening drive of the game, in which it used up six minutes and 14 plays (including eight rushes for 65 yards by Law) only to see a 36-yard field goal attempt fall short.

    Lake increased its lead to 23-0, 8:59 before halftime via a Brandon Otis 59-yard punt return escorted by several Viking blockers, for the first Viking kick-return TD of the season.

    Ignacio Ponce added a 24-yard field goal (he also converted five of seven PAT kicks for the game) on Lake’s final play of the first half.

    Mariner then executed an 80-yard, nine-play touchdown drive featuring three pass completions for 51 yards by Kyle DiLeonardo ending in a nifty 19-yard “hook and lateral” TD in which Junius Fidow received a short pass then tossed it back to Anthany Smith who completed the trick play.

    That cut Lake’s margin to 26-7 with 37 seconds left in the half but Mariner wasn’t done yet.  It converted the ensuing onside kick, taking over on Lake’s 45.   But the threat was squelched when Sam Burke, Kolby Jones and Andrew Cook tackled Smith for an eight-yard loss on a screen pass.

    Halftime Homecoming festivities featured the traditional colorful introduction of royalty followed by the mass student “running of the chicken” along the track in front of a loud, large crowd of alumni and fans.   Viking seniors and their families and special friends had been honored prior to the game’s start.

    Equally inspired (after rousing halftime locker-room exhortations by Coach Tom Tri and staff) were the Viking players who immediately killed Mariner’s will with a pair of quick touchdowns.

    After Rasmussen returned the kickoff 52 yards (with another 15 yards tacked on via a Mariner penalty), Grimes skirted the right side, narrowly avoiding the sideline stripe while speeding to a 28-yard touchdown.

    With Law held out of the remainder of the game due to a minor injury incurred in the first half, Lake’s defense dominated from that point on. 

    After a three-and-out that netted just two yards, Mariner punted to Lake, the latter taking over on its own 49.  Seven plays later Lake was in the end zone again.  Three straight Eason completions, 11 yards to Gray, 28 yards to Riley Krenz, and 12 yards to Hunter Eckstrom set up a Grimes one-yard TD run.  39-7, at 6:57 of the third quarter.

    Lake then held Mariner to minus-seven yards in its next possession, forcing another punt.

    That set up a 77-yard, six-play Viking drive sparked by an 11-yard run by Ian Schneider, a 22-yard Eason to Rasmussen pass, and four carries by Grimes for 44 yards including a 31-yard gain, finished by another one-yard Grimes TD.  45-7, with 2:19 left in the third quarter.

    Lake mopped up the fourth quarter behind six carries by Roderick Jimenez for 62 yards and a two-yard touchdown.Lake outgained Mariner by 229-66 yards overall in the second half (and by 11 first downs to three).

    Mariner contributed to its own demise with 92 penalty yards, to only 15 by Lake.

Kathy Hahn

Wide Receiver Tevin Gray catching a 24 yd. pass to complete a touchdown

    Eason finished a super-efficient 12 of 14 for 197 yards and two touchdowns.  He has now launched 198 passes since his lone interception of the season, a tipped ball in Lake’s opener vs. Meadowdale.

    Leading receiver in this game was Eckstrom; the sophomore caught five passes netting 92 yards.

    Grimes netted 131 yards in 13 carries plus three touchdowns as he edged close to the magical 1000-yard mark for the season.

    Jones continued his march to set an all-time Viking season tackle total, totaling 23 in this game (18 in the first half) for 137 for the season (the record is 160).

    Burke also contributed an outstanding game in the tackle department with 15.

    In addition to the shared sacks noted earlier in this article, Cook recorded a solo sack for the Vikings.


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