By Quint Turner/For Lynnwood Today
Mike Don’s first game as head football coach at Meadowdale was a tumultuous one.
Throughout the Mavericks’ non-conference game against Kamiak Friday night, the coach was switching quarterbacks on offense while trying to stop the cannonball running of Austin Hall on defense. At the same time, players on both sides starting cramping up, starting in the second quarter. Most significantly, starting running back Malik Braxton sustained a leg injury in the fourth quarter that took him out of the game with the Mavericks down 14-13 and just 10 minutes remaining.
But still, Don stayed calm and continued to stick to the same strategies. The Mavs forced the Knights to punt with seven minutes left, and went on a 4-minute, 78-yard drive to score the winning touchdown. The drive really started on second and 6 at the Meadowdale 26, when Jeremiah Evans faked the handoff to Rory Spillum and ran 41 yards to the Kamiak 33-yard line. On 2nd and 5 from the 17-yard line, Spillum ran 14 yards to set up a 3-yard rushing touchdown, also by Spillum, putting the Mavericks up for good. The two-point conversion failed and Kamiak got the ball on their own 20 with 2:14 left to play.
Kamiak Coach Dan Mack put his faith in his starting quarterback, and called four straight passing plays. The first three bounced incomplete and the fourth was knocked out of Austin Sears’ hands by Josiah Evans to force the turnover on downs. The Mavericks then ran out the final 1:43 left in the game and clinched their first victory of the year by a score of 19-14.
Kamiak started the game with the ball on their own 26 yard line after a short return by Thomas Batie. The first play of the game was a handoff to Vadim Morton for 21 yards and a first down. After an encroachment penalty on the Mavs, the Knights decided to pass on first and 5. Becker attempted a short throw that got picked off by Charlie White on the Meadowdale 44-yard line. Two plays later, starting quarterback Jerremiah Evans went for a deep bomb to his brother Josiah Evans, who caught it and took to the house for a 50-yard touchdown. Brett Schafer added the extra point, and the Mavs were up 7-0 with 10:16 to play.
Kamiak got the ball back on their 20. On third and 6, Hall was given the handoff and ran 10yards for his first of many first down runs. Second and 10 on their own 34-yard line, Becker was flushed out of the pocket and bootlegged his way for a 10-yard gain and a first down. He was hit hard as he went to the sidelines, but no flag was thrown. Next play, Hall goes 10 yards up the gut and the Knights are in Maverick territory. Once there, the drive stalled, and Kamiak was forced to punt the ball away after Hall was stopped four yards shy of a first down on third and 7. The punt was downed at the Meadowdale 10-yard line with 5:50 to play in the quarter.
Mavs quarterback Evans managed to get a first down on a fake handoff, but after that, the Mavs couldn’t put anything together and Taylor Linton punted the ball away to the Kamiak 26-yard line. With four minutes left in the quarter, Kamiak got to work. Hall picked up 13 yards on a first and 10 rush and then, three plays later, picked up 13 yards on a screen pass to get a first down on the Maverick 48-yard line. Next play, Becker found Hendersen Belk for a 12-yard gain, and a first down on the Meadowdale 35. On third and 7, Becker flipped the ball to Tyler Webley, and he barely managed to gain the seven yards necessary for another first down. After an 8-yard Hall run, Webley took the handoff and ran 6 yards to make it first and goal for Kamiak on the 10-yard line. First play, Hall is given the ball, and he’s gone into the end zone for the last play of the quarter. Nicholas Menghini added the extra point, and the score was 7-7 going into the second quarter.
The Mavs got the ball on their own 20 to start the second. Caleb Tingstad came in as quarterback and on second and 5 Braxton broke out for a 22-yard run and a first down on the 47-yard line. Meadowdale pushed the ball into Kamiak territory in two plays, but on third and 9, Tingstad was sacked by Riley Briggs-Thomas for a seven-yard loss that killed the drive. The Mavs punted it away, but got the ball right back after the defense forced a three-and-out. With eight minutes left in the quarter and the ball on the Mavs’ 33, Evans was put back in for quarterback. His drive didn’t go any better, as Kamiak forced a three-and-out. The punt was downed by the Mavericks at the Knights’ 24 yard line.
The next drive started out well for Kamiak, as Webley got the handoff and picked up 11 yards for a first down. Then on second and 10 from the 35, Hall caught a screen pass for 11 yards. Two plays later, Becker threw another screen. This one was to Webley, and he caught the ball, but was hit and fumbled the ball. Jojo Alkhedairy fell on the loose ball and the Mavs took over on the Kamiak 36-yard line. The first play afterward was a handoff to Braxton, and he juked his way for 33 yards and a first down on the Kamiak 3-yard line. However, the defense bent, but didn’t break. Two plays went for negative yards and an incomplete pass by Evans on third down sent the kicking unit on the field. Schafer hit the 25-yard field goal attempt to put the Mavericks up 10-7 with 3:43 left in the half.
Kamiak wasn’t content to go into the locker room down three. After the kickoff went for a touchback, and on third and 2, Hall earned 10 more yards on a rush up the middle. That gave Kamiak a first down on their 37yard line. One play later, Hall picked up another 15 yards to bring the ball into Maverick territory. First down and 10, and Becker found an open Sears for an 11-yard catch and run. Then with 1:22 left in the quarter and the ball on the Meadowdale 37, Becker went for it all. He flung a bomb to the goal line that fell in between three Maverick defenders and right into the arms of Belk for a touchdown. The extra point was good, and Kamiak was up 14-10. Meadowdale went for a three and out in the last possession of the half, and the score was 14-10 Kamiak going into halftime.
The Mavericks received the ball to start the third quarter, and it was returned to the 40-yard line. Tingstad was back in the game. After a holding call on a nine-yard gain, the Mavs faced 1st and 17. Braxton got the handoff and ran 15 yards while drawing a horsecollar penalty for another 15 yards. On third and 6 from the Kamiak 32-yard line, Tingstad found Philip Thomas for an 11-yard catch and first down. Two plays later and in the same down/yard situation, Tingstad dropped back to pass and was hammered before throwing. The hit caused a fumble that Braxton somehow picked up seven yards in the backfield and he ran eight yards from there. Though it wasn’t enough for a first down, he saved the Mavs from a turnover and kept them in field goal range. Schafer was sent on for a 33-yard attempt, and it went straight through the uprights. The score was 14-13 Kamiak with 7:30 to play in the quarter.
The Knights got the ball back on their own 22-yard line and was determined to stretch their lead back out. On second and 4, Webley got the handoff and ran five yards for a first down. Two plays later, and on third and 10, Becker led the pass perfectly down the sidelines for Belk, and he made the catch and ran 35 yards to the Meadowdale 31-yard line. On second and 8 from there, Hall picked up 18 yards on a run and was facemasked on the play, moving the ball to the Meadowdale 9-yard line. Third and goal on the 7 was the situation when coach Mack called for a pass. Becker started to roll out to the right when he found that his receivers were all covered, and he started to double back instead of throwing the ball away. As he doubled back, he was pursued by Maverick defenders all the way back to the Meadowdale 31-yard line before finally being sacked for a 24-yard loss. That put Kamiak out of field goal range, and on the ensuing pass attempt, the ball was batted down by Thomas to end the drive with 2:32 to play.
There was a scary moment for Meadowdale fans on second and 10. Braxton got the outside handoff on the left side, tripped in the backfield, and came up limping. He had to leave the game, but would come back later briefly. The Mavs went three and out on the drive due to it, and Kamiak got the ball back on their own 17 with 1:30 to play. Kamiak picked up a first down on 2nd and 3 on a five-yard pass to Nick Taglialavore and on the last play of the quarter, Hall ran 10 yards to the Kamiak 39 yard line for another first down.
Hall picked right back up where he left off in the fourth, and got the handoff as well as 20 yards to begin the quarter. This brought the ball to the Meadowdale 40, where he would be stuffed three straight times running to force a fourth and 6, and then he was stopped four yards shy on a screen pass to turn the ball back over to the Mavs. Evans came back as quarterback with 9:00 to play, and he threw a spiral to Thomas on 3rd and 10 for a 15-yard gain and a first down. First play from the 50 yard line, Braxton gets the handoff and loses two yards. He also comes out of the game due to an injury, and this time, he’d stay out. The next play, Evans’ pass was picked off by (who else) Hall on the Kamiak 45-yard line. Becker took over with 7:40 to play.
Becker wasn’t able to lead any sort of drive, as the Maverick defense forced a three-and-out to get the ball back on their own 22-yard line and 6:40 to play. Evans was left in the game, and it turned out to be the right decision. He faked the handoff to Spillum and ran 41 yards to the left side. That brought the ball to the Kamiak 33-yard line. After a false start led to a second and 15, Evans did the same play and picked up 20 yards. However, the play was called back for an offensive holding penalty, which set up a 1st and 7 at the 30 instead of a 1st and 10 at the 18. Spillum got the handoff the next play and picked up eight yards with 4:30 to play. After a five-yard gain, Spillum notched 14 more yards on second and 5 to make it first and goal on the Kamiak three yard line with 2:20 to play.
Spillum was given the ball once more, and he powered his way through to the end zone to give the Mavericks the go-ahead touchdown with 2:14 to play. On the 2-point conversion, they gave it to Spillum again, but this time he was stopped, and the Knights were only down 19-14. The kickoff went into the end zone for a touchback, and Becker was sent to the field with orders to conduct a pass-heavy two minute drill. It didn’t go as planned. Instead of giving Hall the ball and getting some yards, the Knights went for four straight passing plays. The first three all missed the target, and the final one, a 10 yarder to Belk by the sidelines, was knocked away by Jos. Evans to force a turnover on downs with 1:52 to play. Spillum ran out the clock, and the Mavericks hung on to win 19-14.
With the win, the Mavericks are 1-0 on the year. Their next game is next Friday at 5 p.m. at Edmonds Stadium versus Inglemoor.