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VIKINGS BEAT GONZAGA PREP 35-14, ADVANCE TO SEMIS
Undefeated Lake Stevens cruises behind 4 TDs from Jayden Limar. Read on for the game story and stats.
The final score of 35-14 is a bit misleading, as Lake Stevens needed to execute a half-dozen key plays to come from behind to finally beat down visiting Gonzaga Prep last Saturday. The win advances Lake to next week's State football semi-finals, vs. unbeaten Eastlake (time and place not known at the time of this writing).
Lake (now 10-0) did indeed execute those key plays against powerful Gonzaga (11-1), many of them by Coach Eric Dinwiddie's defense which limited the Bullpups' potent triple-option rushing attack to a mere 48 yards in the second half (in similar fashion as Lake in the previous game held Richland to seven net yards after intermission).
Key defensive stops are what allowed Lake to limit Gonzaga's ground game, especially in the second half, turning the ball over to Lake's explosive, versatile offense, which was once again up to the task.
Gonzaga shocked Lake in the first half by grinding out consecutive long marches, mainly via chunks of yardage by its All-State caliber quarterback Ryan McKenna, to take a 14-7 lead at 5:30 of the second quarter. This was the largest deficit Lake had faced all season.
The game began with Lake executing a six-play, 59-yard scoring drive, starting with Jayden Limar's 15-yard run and bolstered by three straight Grayson Murren completions, of six and 16 yards to Trayce Hanks and 12 yards to Isaac Redford, followed by Hanks' four-yard TD run. Macray Flander's first of five PAT kicks made it 7-0, at 10:00 of the first quarter.
Lake thwarted GP's first possession when tackles by Joe McGinnis, Cole Becker and Colby Easterling jarred the handoff loose, Easterling recovering on the Gonzaga 41.
Normally this would set up a Viking score, but this time it was Gonzaga's turn to flash its defense when it held Lake on downs on the ten. The Bullpups then launched an impressive 90-yard, 17-play scoring march consuming seven first downs, all on the ground, culminating in McKenna's nine-yard TD. Matthew Herzog's PAT tied it at 7-7, at 11:55 of the second quarter.
Lake's following possession resulted in a three-and-out and a punt, GP taking over on its own 20. Fourteen rushing plays later, GP was in the end zone again, McKenna scoring from the two. The latter accounted for 57 of those yards in seven carries. 14-7 GP, at 5:30 of the second.
Facing a sobering challenge, Lake responded immediately. As has been the case all season, the game became the Jayden Limar show. After Lake returned the kickoff to its own 38, Limar hauled in a 34-yard toss from Murren, followed by Limar runs of 15 and 13 yards, the latter for a touchdown. 14-14, at 4:16 of the second.
GP's next possession ended at fourth-and-one on the Bullpup 40 when Curtis Vilicana, Dylan Slezak and Madison Wynkoop gang-tackled McKenna for a one-yard loss.
That was but one of several crucial defensive stops by the Vikings which essentially turned the game around in Lake's favor.
It took Lake just two plays to regain the lead: Drew Carter's sensational 33-yard reception from Murren, a catch he snatched away from a trio of GP defenders, followed by Jayden Limar's seven-yard scoring plunge into the end zone where he recovered his own fumble.
21-14 Lake, at 1:50 of the second.
Lake dominated the second half, outgaining GP by 190 yards to 48. Gonzaga's initial drive was halted on downs via a third-down sack of McKenna by Ashten Hendrickson, Naveer Kaile and Dylan Slezak (the latter's team-leading eighth sack of the season), forcing a punt giving Lake possession on its own two-yard line.
That possession ended on downs 12 plays later on the GP 19. While there had been no scoring in the third quarter, Lake effectively had kept the ball out of the Bulldogs' hands.
Lake blew things open in the fourth quarter, scoring twice.
Carter's sensational diving tackle of McKenna for a four-yard loss on third down forced another GP punt, which was shanked just 11 yards to the Bulldog 46.
Lake's offense, which ultimately wore down the Bulldog line in the fourth quarter, turned in a cinching TD at 6:48, on an eight-play drive fashioned by Jayshon Limar's 13-yard run, a 19-yard Murren to Becker completion, and Jayden Limar's four-yard scoring run. 28-14.
Lake turned the game into a blowout when it successfully converted the ensuing onsides kickoff, pooched by Flanders and recovered by Flanders on the GP 46. This was the second straight game in which Lake pulled off this surprise play, one which the Vikings have been assiduously practicing for some time. Five plays later Lake scored, thanks to Hanks' 21-yard run, an eight-yard Murren to Carter pass, and Jayden Limar's four-yard rush. 35-14, at 4:28 of the fourth.
GP's final efforts were dashed by Redford's interception of McKenna on the GP 42, allowing Lake to run out the remaining time.
Jayden Limar finished with 132 yards in 20 carries, including four touchdowns. Hanks added 70 yards in 10 carries and a touchdown, plus an interception. Carter's seven receptions totaled 93 yards. Murren, returning to action after missing the previous three games with a leg injury, completed 14 of 20 passes (no interceptions) for 216 yards. McKenna threw just three passes for no completions and two interceptions, but he rushed for 142 net yards in 26 carries (only 20 of those yards in the second half). Lake totaled 231 net yards rushing to 238 for GP.
Lake's defense was spearheaded by several players who made key tackles. Leading that onslaught were Wynkoop and McGinnis with 15 tackles each, together with Easterling's 13, Hendrickson's 12, Carter and Vilicana with 10 apiece and Grant Lynch with eight.
GONZAGA PREP @LAKE STEVENS FOOTBALL STATS (STATE PLAYOFFS 11-20-21)
RUSH C G L NET AVG TD
Jd. Limar 20 132 0 132 6.6 4
Hanks 10 71 1 70 7.0 1
Ja. Limar 7 37 0 37 5.3
Murren 1 0 8 -8 -8.0
LS 38 240 9 231 6.1 5
GP 57 253 15 238 4.2 2
Murren 14-20-0 70% 216 YDS 0 TD
Matson 0- 0-0 0%
LS 14-21-0 67% 216 YDS 0 TD
GP 0- 3-2 0%
RECEIVING # YDS AVG
Carter 7 93 13.3
Becker 3 55 18.3
Hanks 2 22 11.0
Jd. Limar 1 34 34.0
Redford 1 12 12.0
LA 14 216 15.4
ONSIDE KICKOFF RECOVERY
Easterling 43 YDS
LS 7 For 70 YDS
GP 2 For 20 YDS
SCORING TD PAT1 TOTAL
Jd. Limar 4 24
Hanks 1 6
Flanders 5/5 5
LS 5 5/5 35
GP 2 2/2 14
GP 0 14 0 0 -- 14
LS 7 14 0 14 -- 35
TACKLES (For Loss or No Gain)
Wynkoop 15 (3)
Easterling 13 (1)
Hendrickson 12 (2)
Carter 10 (1)
Vilicana 10 (1)
G. Lynch 8
D. Slezak 6 (2)
Kaile 6 (1)
Jx. Lewis 1
Ja. Limar 1
Je. Lewis 1
B. Slezak 1
Total 114 (11)
Hendrickson 1 (Shared)
Kaile 1 (Shared)
D. Slezak 1 (Shared)
Vs. LS (Murren) 1