The Lynnwood football team finished strong.
The Royals followed up last week’s victory over Garfield with another stellar performance, defeating Wesco 4A North Division rival Snohomish 34-14 Thursday night at Edmonds Stadium.
“It feels really good to be walking away and finishing the season 2-0 with all the work and everything these guys have been through,” said Lynnwood co-head coach Danny Hawkins.
Before the start of the season, second-year head coach Adam Fermstad was put on administrative leave and he was released from his contract three weeks into the regular season. Hawkins and Keauntea Bankhead, assistant coaches at the time, were named co-head coaches for the remainder of the season. The Royals (2-8 overall) lost their first eight games before beating the Bulldogs last week.
“I just wish we could have had a little more time to get things organized this season,” Hawkins said. “I felt we could have had a great season if we had a little more time to get everything put together.”
Lynnwood seemed to put together a well-rounded effort against the Panthers (1-9).
The Royals scored on the ground, through the air and on a kickoff return. The defense stepped up its game, stopping Snohomish on a fourth-and-goal from the 1 and intercepting a pass in the end zone.
“The defense did great,” said Lynnwood quarterback Justin Cachopo, who threw for one touchdown and had several key passes to keep drives going.
Lynnwood did make some mistakes, such as fumbling away the ball and having a bad snap on a punt.
“They do a lot better job of staying in control,” Hawkins said of his players. “That’s the aim, keeping their mentality, even when they make a mistake. It’s coming back to an even keel.”
“In the last two games when we’ve made mistakes, we’ve come back and fixed them. That’s all I wanted to see and that’s what I saw out there.”
Some changes in the offensive play calling yielded dividends.
“We just installed some new stuff,” Hawkins said. “We finally got a rhythm on offense.”
“Our receivers were running their routes,” Cachopo said.
But early on it was the ground game that was working well. Running back Andrew Katezenberger scored on a 5-yard run to give Lynnwood a 7-0 lead with less than a minute left in the first quarter.
Following a 48-yard pass from Cachopo to Katzenberger, running back Hunter Lord scored on a 24-yard run as Lynnwood took a 14-0 lead at the 10:39 mark of the second quarter.
Snohomish responded on the ensuing kickoff as Garrett Stitch ran the ball back 98 yards for a touchdown and the Lynnwood lead was cut to 14-6.
The Royals didn’t wait long to get the crowd back into the game as Richard Troung took the kickoff and ran it back 99 yards for a touchdown and Lynnwood went into halftime with a 20-6 advantage.
Midway through the third quarter, Snohomish had the ball on the Lynnwood 8 when the Royals intercepted the ball in the end zone. Six plays later, Cachopo found wide receiver David Nguyen for a 12-yard scoring strike and Lynnwood led 27-6 with 3:54 left in the third quarter.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Snohomish quarterback Mike Sanders ran 18 yards for a touchdown. Lynnwood running back Alton Hammond scored on a 1-yard run with 2:11 left in the game to close out the scoring.
“We’ve been out here with 22 guys all week,” Hawkins said. “We’ve got small numbers but they’re warriors.”
Cachopo is excited about next year as he and a number of other key players will be back.
“We’ve got a lot of returners,” he said.