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Game Story: Vikings Batter the Bullpups 42-17 in Quarterfinal Rematch
Jayden Limar sets three more program records as Lake Stevens ends Gonzaga Prep’s season yet again
Lake Stevens' drive towards a state football championship is alive and well following the Vikings' 42-17 home field win over Gonzaga Prep last Saturday afternoon, witnessed by an almost-capacity crowd.
Lake played a near perfect game in its offense as well as in its defense vs. the triple-option Bulldogs, overcoming an early deficit and dominating from there on.
The Zags took the opening kickoff and drove 71 yards in 11 plays including eight rushes for 41 yards and a one-yard TD by Lilo Mikaele (PAT by Matthew Herzog). 7-0 at 7:58 of the first.
The drive included quarterback Jojo Shortell's only completion of the game in five attempts, a 21-yarder to Nick Bankey. Lake intercepted Bankey twice, by David Brown and Jaxson Lewis, keys to the Vikings' runaway victory.
Typically, Lake responded immediately with a TD of its own, a five-play, 65-yard drive launched by (who else?) Jayden Limar's 25-yard burst as he continues his assault on the all-time Viking record book.
Quarterback Kolton Matson then hit David Brown for an 18-yard completion, followed by two more Limar carries covering a total of 18 yards, and Paul Varela's nine-yard scoring sweep. Macray Flanders' PAT tied it at 7-7 at 6:13 of the first.
Viking defense then forced a three-and-out punt (third down stop by Cole Becker and Steven Lee JR), Lake taking over on its own 44.
Six plays later Lake was in the end zone again, to take the lead for good.
Matson's 26-yard completion to Limar launched the drive, and another 15-yard toss to Limar set up the latter's one-yard TD.
14-7. at 1:56 of the first.
Lake's defense then halted another Gonzaga drive after it totalled 45 yards in eight plays to the Viking 10 (aided by a somewhat iffy pass interference fourth-down call vs. Lake). Third down stop by Becker, Lee, and Mason Turner forced Herzog's successful 27-yard field goal, cutting Lake's margin to 14-10 at 9:55 of the second quarter.
That was the Zags' last hurrah, as the Vikings were to score four consecutive TDs to salt the game away.
Lake took the ensuing kickoff and was exiled to its own nine-yard line via a 15-yard personal foul penalty. No matter. 91 yards and seven plays later Lake found paydirt. Matson's 45-yard completion to Becker and his 28-yard TD pass to Limar, who made a dazzling juke at the one-yard line, polished off the drive. 21-10, 6:37 before halftime.
Gonzaga's final two drives of the half were stymied by: Becker's sack of Shortell for a five-yard loss, and consecutive third-down stops by Naveer Kaile, Micah Avery, and Varela and by Bryce Slezak and Becker.
Lake received the second-half kickoff and upped its lead to 28-10 at 7:21 via a 69-yard, nine-play drive initiated by Limar's 22-yard rush followed by Matson 18 and 10-yard passes to Becker and finished by Limar's seven-yard TD run.
Gonzaga's attempt to retaliate was again snuffed by the Viking D. The Bulldogs advanced to the Viking 34 in eight rushes plus a face-mask penalty on the home team but that drive died after a 10-yard Gonzaga holding penalty and Shortell's third down pass incompletion, forcing a punt downed on the LS 11.
89 yards and six plays later Lake scored once more, via Matson's 39 yard pass to Limar, Matson's 33-yard run to the Gonzaga five (where he recovered his own fumble) followed by Limar's scoring run from there. 35-10, at 1:36 of the third.
Brown's interception of Shortell on the GP 25 with 36 seconds left in the third quarter set up Limar's 70-yard scoring scamper on the opening play of the fourth. 42-10 at 11:48 of the final period.
Viking reserves played most of the fourth quarter, during which the Bulldogs gained 167 yards on the ground, highlighted by two runs of 31 yards each by Mikaele and a 68-yard TD by Bankey, rounding out the scoring at 42-17 at 5:03. Jaxson Lewis' interception of Shortell and 32-yard return to the Viking 39 at 0:48 prevented any further Bulldog scoring.
Limar finished with 184 yards in 19 carries and four TDs, plus 108 yards on four receptions plus another TD. Yet another spectacular showtime performance for Limar, enroute to re-writing the all-time Viking records book.
After the game he lavishly commended his offensive line for opening up the lanes allowing him to do his thing: Brown, Slezak, Aaron Parker, Grant Lynch, Ashten Hendrickson, Avery, etc.
Matson's ultra-economical game saw him complete 9 of 12 passes (one interception) for 208 yards and a TD, and 45 rushing yards in four carries.
Becker's all-around show included three receptions for 73 yards and 14 tackles one of which was a QB sack. Tackle of the game was Gabe Kylany's torpedo hit on Mikaele which terminated a GP drive in the fourth quarter.
GP's triple-option rushes accounted for 353 net yards yet it was the Viking defense which halted it when it mattered most. Bulldog seniors Mikeale and Bankey combined to net 290 yards in 40 carries -- a valiant effort in a losing cause.
Lake outgained GP overall by 476 yards to 358.
Turner, now with 125 tackles for the season, led Lake in that department with 17, followed by Becker 14, Kylany 13, Hendrickson 12, Kaile 10, nine each by Greg Solomon, Isaac Redford and Lee, and eight by Avery.
In addition to Becker's QB sack, another was shared by Hendrickson, Kylany and Avery. Matson, under some heavy pressure, avoided being sacked.
Lake hosts Graham-Kapowsin, the team which beat Lake for the state championship last year, in the state semi-final this Saturday afternoon.
How's that for motivation and a great test of Lake's fine balance of offense and defense and overall talent?