By Bob Kirkpatrick
It was a miserable wet first half of action as the rain poured down on players, coaches, and fans alike and impacted both teams’ play at Pop Keeney Stadium Saturday night, Oct. 9.
“This was a game where we missed numerous opportunities,” Jaguars head coach Torrey Myers said. “I would imagine Woodinville would say them same for themself. I don’t think either team played particularly well.”
The first missed scoring opportunity came at the hands of the Falcons when running back Carson Ackermann fumbled the ball at the North Creek 15-yard line. The Jaguars Rocco Traoré recovered it with just over four minutes to play in the first quarter.
The second missed scoring opportunity came late in the second quarter when North Creek fumbled the ball at the Woodinville 2-yard line.
The Falcons recovered the ball and then mounted a 98-yard scoring drive that ended with a Nick Owens 29-yard rushing TD (PAT no good) and put Woodinville up 6-0 at the break.
“The fumble and 98-yard drive at the end of the half was huge because it was a 14-point swing,” Myers said. “But I loved the energy our players came out with after halftime. We did well on both sides of the ball in the third quarter.”
A short Falcons’ kickoff to start the second half of action gave the Jaguars excellent field position at their 37. Quarterback Kennedy McGill then hooked up with Traoré on a 51-yard pass play to the Woodinville 12-yard line. A minute later, McGill found wide receiver Jamal Omar for a 7-yard score (PAT) and North Creek led 7-6.
A muffed Jaguar punt with 6:48 left in the third quarter gave the ball to Woodinville at the North Creek 32 and set the Falcons up in scoring position.
But the Jags defense stiffened and forced Woodinville to attempt a field goal. Cedric Washington blocked the try and denied the Falcons three points. North Creek took over on its 25 and drove the length of the field capped off by a 2-yard McGill touchdown run (PAT) and the Jaguars upped the score to 14-6 as the quarter came to an end.
Woodinville answered the score two minutes into the fourth quarter when quarterback Theo Grothen tossed a short pass over the middle to Lucas Dahl, who raced past the North Creek secondary for a 36-yard touchdown. The PAT was good and the Falcons got within a point, 14-13.
The teams exchanged possession the remainder of the quarter and with less than two minutes to go, it looked like North Creek was going to come away with the win. But with no times outs, Woodinville was able to move the ball into field goal range.
The Falcons fumbled the ball at the Jaguars’ 17 with 23 seconds left. Woodinville recovered it, and on the next play, Grothen spiked the ball to stop the clock with six seconds to go.
As the Falcons lined up for a field goal try, North Creek called a time out to ice the kicker. But it didn’t faze Finley Bragg, who split the uprights from 34-yards out to give Woodinville a 16-14 lead with three seconds left in the game.
The Jaguars fielded the kickoff but could only return the ball to midfield and the Falcons walked away with the win.
“You could point to any one of 100 plays where the game could have been won because of how close it was,” Myers said. “Our inability to get a first down on offense in the fourth quarter was, for me, the biggest frustration of the game.
“The great thing about this group of seniors and our team, in general, is they have shown time after time that they will stay together and be there for each other. After a game like this, that trait is going to pay huge dividends because it is a hard loss to swallow for all of us.”
North Creek gets a chance to put the loss in the rearview mirror when the team hits the road to take on Glacier Peak on Friday, Oct. 15.