By David Pan/Lynnwood Today editor
Victory was sweet for a resilient Lynnwood football team.
The Royals scored four touchdowns in the second quarter to break open a tight game and beat Garfield 33-21 in a non-conference game Thursday night at Memorial Stadium in Seattle.
The victory was Lynnwood’s first of the season.
“It feels great,” said junior running back Andrew Katzenberger, who ran for a pair of touchdowns. “We’ve been close. We finally finished.”
Co-head coach Keauntea Bankhead described the win as a new beginning for the Royals.
“It’s a great win,” he said. “These guys have been working hard all year. We’ve been letting (games) slide out of our fingertips.”
The victory over the Bulldogs came one week after perhaps the team’s most disappointing loss of the season to Jackson. In that game, Lynnwood (1-8 overall) led 28-13 at halftime but the Timberwolves rallied in the second half to pull out a 56-34 victory.
Lynnwood made sure there was no second half collapse against Garfield (1-8). The Bulldogs did score two touchdowns but the Royals kept their focus throughout the second half.
“We just weren’t going to lose again,” Katzenberger said. “We were tired of losing.”
Bankhead sensed that the players remembered last week’s second half struggles.
“Coming back from that game last week, they had a chip on their shoulder,” Bankhead said. “They had something to prove to us. They came out and they did it. They did what we asked them to do and they made plays.”
Katzenberger scored on a 6-yard run to give Lynnwood a 7-0 lead at the 7:14 mark of the first quarter. Garfield responded on its ensuing offensive series when Juan Saldana threw a 74-yard touchdown pass to Roberson Winfred and the Bulldogs cut the deficit to 7-6. The extra point kick was missed.
The second quarter was all Lynnwood.
Quarterback Justin Cachopo started off the scoring spree with a 44-yard scoring strike to David Nguyen. Katzenberger followed with a 12-yard touchdown run and Cachopo had a 1-yard TD run. Cachopo then closed out the quarter with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Richard Troung and the Royals took a 33-6 lead into halftime.
“We had some great passes and some great catches,” Bankhead said. “I think they finally put together a full four quarters together for this game.”
The last two touchdowns were set up by interceptions by Mikaeo Kirklman and Nguyen, who had another interception in the third quarter.
“That was our main focus, even though they were a running team,” Bankhead said. “We told the DBs don’t have your eyes in the backfield. Stay focused on the pass first. We’ve got guys up front to take care of the running game.”
Lynnwood closes out the season against Snohomish next Thursday at Edmonds Stadium. The time has yet to be announced.
Both Bankhead and Katzenberger, who is a junior, see a bright future for the Lynnwood program.
“We have young guys stepping up who are playmakers,” Bankhead said,
“Next year we’re going to be a force,” Katzenberger said. “We’ve got a lot of returners. We’re just a good tight-knit squad.