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Sanderson, defense lead the way past Stanwood
A steady drizzle made handling the football during Marysvilles Sept. 21 football clash with Stanwood extremely difficult. Numerous fumbles from both teams, more than likely caused by the wet turf and muddy conditions, made for a tightly contested game of field position in the first half. But Marysvilles offense kicked into another gear in the second half and the team won easily over Stanwood 27-8.
In the first quarter neither team tried much in the way of a passing game. Stanwood seemed content to run their wing-t offense against a stingy Marysville front four. Led by big Tannon Hillis, the Tomahawk defensive line could not be pushed back. On their first series, Stanwood went for a fourth-and-six from the M-P 35 yard line. It backfired as the Tomahawks held firm and forced a Spartan turnover.
After a failed series from the M-P offense, the defense again came up with a huge momentum changing play. Stanwood had marched back into Tomahawk territory, right around the 40 yard line. The Tomahawk defense buckled down again and forced a fourth down play; and once again they came through in the clutch. Stanwood turned the ball over again to the Marysville offense.
This time Marysville got an unlucky break due to the rugged field conditions. As running back Ryan Sterly took the hand off from Denay Stell he plunged through the heart of the defense for an apparent five-yard gain. As Sterly hit the ground the football skidded out of his hands underneath a pile of Stanwood defenders. The referees ruled it a turnover, saying that the ground did not force the fumble and that the ball was loose when Sterly hit the turf.
Despite the bad break, the Tomahawk defense answered the call yet again. They made sure no Spartan runner got through the line and forced another fourth down play. This time the Stanwood coaching staff elected to punt, a seemingly innocuous decision, hoping to pin Marysville back deep in their own end. The snap back to the punter skipped on the grass, rendering it uncatchable and the poor punter was left enough time only to grasp the ball and wait to be clobbered by the punt rush.
More difficulty with the rain followed as Marysville could not take advantage of their new found superiority in field position. After several consecutive running plays, the Tomahawks faced a fourth-and-two inside Spartan territory. Quarterback Stell had trouble with the snap and instead of rushing around the right side of the line as the play intended, Stell found himself staring at a sea of Spartan defenders as he gathered the ball back in.
Both teams continued to slug it out on the ground. After Stanwood began their series a hard hit by LB Mike Stohl on Stanwoods running back showed the Spartans that Marysvilles defense remained undeterred. Two plays later, the Spartans were forced into another punt, this time effectively landing the ball on the Tomahawk 10-yard line. The poor field position played a major role in the games first score.
A first-down pitch out play to Travis Sanderson was botched by Marysville as the ball squirted down toward the goal line. Fortunately Sanderson managed to fall on the ball, preventing a turnover, but it cost Marysville eight yards and put them in a bad spot positionally. After two more unsuccessful runs, Marysville attempted to punt out of their own end-zone. The punt snap was fumbled and a mad scramble ensued wherein the Tomahawks recovered the ball for a safety.
Leading 2-0, Stanwood got a bit greedy on the ensuing kickoff. They moved their deep return men up to the 30-yard line, hoping for excellent field position. Marysville kicker Elwood Sevon boomed a 70-yard kick well over their heads and deep into the corner of the field. Stanwood would start from their own 12-yard line.
More excellent defense, particularly the speed of Andy Abadam, made the Spartans punt again from deep in their own territory and a botched snap ended in a turnover.
After a pass interference penalty gave the Tomahawks first-and-goal on the 5-yard line, Snell made Stanwood pay with a run around right end. He dove to the orange pylon, giving the Tomahawks a 6-2 edge. The extra point made it 7-2 right before halftime.
The second half proved to be all Marysville. An excellent kick return set the team up near midfield and Travis Sanderson broke free on a second down run to race 50 yards for a score. Sanderson turned on the jets as he broke into the Spartan secondary, shedding two would-be tacklers and heading for paydirt.
The extra point conversion made it 14-2 and given the difficulty Stanwood had moving the ball, the game looked all but over. Marysville extended their lead on their next possession as Ben Hager scored from two yards out after the Tomahawks benefitted from a personal foul call against Stanwood.
On the following drive, a harassed Stanwood quarterback threw an interception to the waiting hands of LB Brett Preheim. The Tomahawk defense bottled up the Stanwood running game all night and the minute the Spartans tried to pass it was intercepted.
Another long touchdown run from Travis Sanderson on offense sealed the game shut, putting the Tomahawks ahead 27-2. Stanwood would get a late touchdown to narrow the margin and make the score look a bit more respectable, but the Tomahawks recovered an onside kick to end any thought of a comeback.
Coach Brandon Carson had an extra skip in his step following the game.
We had some penalties at the end that I didnt like, but otherwise I thought it was a great effort by our guys, said Carson. Stanwood confused us in the first half, but we executed well in the second. The defense did an excellent job for us all night long.
Photos courtesy John Galbreath, Stanwood/Camano News