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Revamped Tomahawks drop opener against Wildcats
MARYSVILLE The Tomahawk faithful turned out in droves to watch M-P football open their season, Aug. 31, against defending state champion Oak Harbor.
In a match of teams that finished in the top and bottom of the Wesco North conference, the Tomahawks lost 37-27 to the Wildcats, but the game provided a chance for M-P to see what is working and what needs more work in new head coach Brandon Carsons playbook.
Though Oak Harbor led the game from their first-quarter touchdown by receiver Jordan Young, it had to come as a surprise that M-P stayed neck-and-neck throughout most of the first half. M-P quarterback Denay Stell answered Youngs touchdown with one of his own, connecting on a 40-yard pass to junior tight end Jeff Trappe early in the second quarter to tie the game, 6-6.
Trappe proved a favorite target of Stells. Though Stell threw a modest 4-for-12 in the air, Trappe caught all four throws for 90 yards. Stell said after the game he hopes the addition of junior wide receiver Levi Cartas will add another dimension to the Tomahawks passing game in the coming weeks.
He didnt get to play that game, but hell be a big part of the passing game come Friday, Stell said. Hes one of the faster guys on the team, so I think hell be a big part of the passing game later this season.
While Oak Harbors senior quarterback Johnny Encinas connected with three different receivers for his teams 37 points, M-P had better success with the ground game. In the second quarter, junior running back Caleb Posey broke free on the left side of the field, gaining 45 yards and a touchdown to answer Encinas first passing TD.
Late in the half and into the third quarter, Oak Harbor broke away with Encinas second and third touchdowns a rush and a pass to leading receiver Chris Valencia to go up 27-12. Still, the Tomahawks didnt let that Oak Harbor lead stop them from playing hard.
Stell, who led M-P in a collaborative rushing effort with 69 yards, helped narrow the scoring gap again in the fourth quarter, running in for the touchdown and again for the two-point conversion.
I thought we played really well actually, harder than the past two teams I played varsity on. We played with a lot of emotion and we never gave up. Oak Harbor just had a few plays we couldnt stop, Stell said. I thought it was a good game for the program because Marysville hasnt competed in awhile, and I think its a sign of whats to come.
Set up by a Mitch Burside fumble recovery in the fourth quarter, senior fullback Ben Hagar had a 2-yard rush in the closing minutes of the game for the final score. Hagar finished the day with 59 yards, while Posey and junior running back Ryan Sterly turned in notable 52- and 43-yard performances for the Tomahawks, respectively.
Obviously we lost and I wish we could have won, but I think it was a good eye-opener. I think Oak Harbor was surprised that they didnt blow over us, Stell said. Practice is going good this week. We put a lot of adjustments in this week to catch Snohomish off guard. I think things are going to happen this season.
Marysville-Pilchuck 0 12 0 15 27
Oak Harbor 6 14 10 7 37