By David Pan/Lynnwood Today editor
Lynnwood played its best first half of football all season Friday night.
And it showed as the Royals took a surprising 28-13 lead over Jackson.
Lynnwood’s advantage, however, quickly unraveled in the second half. The Timberwolves scored six unanswered touchdowns en route to a 56-34 victory in a Wesco 4A South Division clash at Edmonds Stadium.
Lynnwood (0-5 in the league, 0-8 overall) was outscored 43-6 in the second half.
“They’ve got playmakers over there. I think we took that for granted,” said co-head coach Keauntea Bankhead. “They had a lot of big plays in the second half. Offensively and defensively, we were just out of sync. We gave up too many big plays.”
Jackson (2-3, 4-4) started on the Lynnwood 47 for its first scoring drive of the second half thanks to a long kickoff return. The Wolfpack’s second scoring drive was capped off by a 64-yard touchdown pass from Michael Zeng to wide receiver Kenyan Foster. The third scoring drive took one play: a 62-yard touchdown run by running back Nick White.
Lynnwood could muster only one touchdown in the second half. Running back David Nguyen scored on a 7-yard run late in the fourth quarter.
A running game that was carving up the yardage in the first half wasn’t as effective in the final 24 minutes of the game.
The Timberwolves made some defensive adjustments that slowed down the Royals.
“They do what every team does all season,” Bankhead said. “They stack the box. They bring pressure. They blitz. They know we’re going to run. Once you get behind, you’ve got to start throwing the ball. It kind of gets you off-balance. Our bread and butter is running the ball.”
When Jackson seized the momentum in the second half, Lynnwood could not find an answer.
“You’ve got to be able to adapt and adjust,” Bankhead said. “Defensively, we didn’t come ready to play in the second half. That’s my fault. We didn’t get any stops and we did great in the first half.”
Trailing 7-0, the Royals tied the score on the first play of the second quarter on a 2-yard run by running back Andrew Katzenberger. Lynnwood’s defense then came up big on the ensuing series.
Defensive back Richard Truong intercepted a pass that bounced off of the hands of a Jackson receiver and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown to give the Royals a 14-7 lead at the 9:51 mark of the second quarter.
Jackson responded with a TD but missed the extra point. Lynnwood’s defense then forced the Wolfpack to turn the ball over on downs at the Royals 29. Five plays later, Mikao Kirkman scored on a 1-yard run to give Lynnwood a 21-13 lead.
The Royals weren’t finished yet. An interception by defensive back Hunter Lord led to a 16-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Justin Cachopo to wide receiver Vika Young and Lynnwood went into halftime with a 28-13 lead.
Just about everything went right in the first half for the Royals.
“Offensively, I think we finally were in sync,” Bankhead said. “We were finally putting it together. We were mixing it up. We had them on their heels. We were passing the ball. We played a great first half of football.”
Bankhead wants the players to remember that first half of football and to build on it.
“That was their best half of football since I’ve been here,” Bankhead said. “Leave that second half behind. They know that feeling in the first half.”
Bankhead also wants to see a full-game effort from the Royals.
“We’ve got to play 48 minutes of football,” he said. “We can’t play 24. We can’t play 12. We have to take every play. You can’t take any plays off.”