By David Pan/Lynnwood Today editor
The prospects for Lynnwood were looking bleak.
Leading 20-14, Shorewood had the ball at its own 45 with just over a minute left in the fourth quarter.
Royals co-interim head coach Danny Hawkins implored his defense to somehow get the ball back.
Linebacker Andrew Katzenberger obliged, recovering a fumble at the Lynnwood 45 and for the second week in a row, Lynnwood had the ball with a chance to win late in the game.
The Royals drove down to the Shorewood 18 before throwing an incomplete pass as time ran out and the Thunderbirds escaped with a 20-14 victory in a non-conference football game Friday night at Shoreline Stadium.
“I love the heart and the fight these guys have,” Hawkins said. “We had an opportunity to go in and get it in the end zone. We didn’t get it done. We’ve got to keep working on that, getting the ball in the end zone and putting more points up. I’m proud of these guys. They fought to the end. I wouldn’t want to coach any other team.”
Lynnwood (0-2 overall) lost its season opener 20-15 to Shorecrest but also had the ball on offense with an opportunity to win late in the contest.
The Royals were in a good position to take the lead against Shorewood with just over a minute left in the fourth quarter.
Lynnwood’s defense had forced the Thunderbirds to punt and the Royals took over at the Shorewood 46 at the 4:23 mark. Lynnwood drove down to the 15, but then back-to-back illegal procedure penalties pushed the Royals back to the 25.
The penalties may have been due to a combination of excitement and fatigue, Hawkins said. “Mistakes happen. We still put ourselves in a great position to win the game. We’ve just got to finish and get it done.”
On the ensuing play, Shorewood’s Spencer Jacobs picked off a pass and returned it to the Thunderbirds 41. Two plays later, Kateznberger’s fumble recovery gave Lynnwood one final shot at a victory.
The second straight loss definitely stings, especially for the seniors, said Lynnwood co-interim head coach Keauntea Bankhead.
“The players are hurting,” he said. “It’s a good feeling. We tell them feel it. Win the next game, so you don’t have this feeling.”
Lynnwood took a 7-0 lead on 15-yard pass from quarterback Justin Cachopo to David Nguyen. Shorewood (1-1 overall) cut the lead to 7-6 with a 14-yard scoring strike from quarterback Aaron Okamura to Issac Whitaker. The PAT was no good.
The Thunderbirds took a 12-7 lead on a 6-yard run by Anxhelos Pere in the second quarter before Lynnwood responded with a 14-yard touchdown run by Katzenberger.
The Royals appeared poised to go into halftime with a 14-12 lead before Okamura threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Bostyn Vordahl and Shorewood regained the advantage, 20-14, with a successful 2-point conversion run by Pere.
“In the first half, we gave up a couple of big plays,” Bankhead said. “That last drive on the first half, (the defense) got lackadaisical. We weren’t playing the defense we should have been playing. It’s a different game if we don’t let them score.”
Hawkins appreciated the work of the offensive line, especially junior Joe McKay.
“They’re bringing it to the table,” he said. “It’s a small, undersized group. Our run game is good. We’ve just to get Justin more comfortable back there. He’s getting better week to week. … We’ve got to learn to finish drives in the red zone. That’s what we’re going to work on next week.”
Lynnwood takes on Mountlake Terrace (0-2) at 5 p.m., Sept. 20 at Edmonds Stadium. The Hawks lost 35-0 to Edmonds-Woodway.