E-W dominates Tides | Football

Up next for Warriors is Eastside Catholic
By David Pan | Nov 09, 2017
Photo by: David R Pan Edmonds-Woodway’s Noah Becker prepares to tackle Gig Harbor’s Kellen Gregory during a 3A playoff game Friday, Nov. 3, at Edmonds Stadium.

Edmonds-Woodway didn’t come into its 3A playoff football game at full strength.

The Warriors were missing their top running back, a two-way team captain and a starting defensive back.

Edmonds-Woodway faced the adversity, overcame it and dominated Gig Harbor 24-6 Friday, Nov. 3, at Edmonds Stadium.

Senior quarterback Reilly Chappell ran for two touchdowns and threw for a third to lead the Warriors, who improved to 9-1 overall.

The Warriors advanced to the state playoffs for the first time since 2011. Edmonds-Woodway takes on No. 1 ranked Eastside Catholic in a first round game at 7:45 p.m., Friday, Nov. 10, at Seattle Memorial Stadium.

“It feels great,” Chappell said. “This is what we came in planning to do. This is what we were dreaming of and now that we’ve accomplished it, we just want to ride the train as far as it goes.”

Starting running back Capassio Cherry was on the sidelines with a walking boot. Team co-captain Aaron Richardson, a wide receiver/linebacker also did not play and defensive back Grayson LeCompte also was out.

“We had some adversity,” Edmonds-Woodway coach John Gradwohl said. “We didn’t know Noah (Becker) was going to play. Aaron Richardson and Cap and Kelly Jackson, those are a lot of good players. I’m real happy with the kids who stepped up.”

Chappell noted that running back Carlos Serrano, who rushed for 74 yards on 19 carries, had not seen much action in the backfield since the second week of the season. Bryan Sarnowski, who had 21 yards on five carries, starting playing running back three days before Friday’s contest.

“Those guys played their hearts out,” Chappell said. “I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Edmonds-Woodway took a 7-0 lead on an 8-yard run by Chappell at the 3:29 mark of the first quarter. Chappell then scored on a 1-yard TD run midway through the second quarter and the Warriors led 14-0 at halftime.

“I’ve always kind of looked to run before I throw the ball,” Chappell said. “I used to be a running back when I was younger… I was able to slip off some tackles and have some nice runs (with) really good blocking downfield, blocks by my fullbacks and by my receivers.”

A fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half gave Gig Harbor the ball deep in Edmonds-Woodway territory. Gig Harbor running back Jesse Valona scored on a 4-yard run to cut the Warriors’ advantage to 14-6 less than a minute into the third quarter.

Edmonds-Woodway extended its lead to 21-6 when Chappell threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Jaro Rouse at the 1:29 mark of the third quarter. Jackson Karr kicked a 33-yard field goal with 2:27 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Chappell completed 10 of 17 passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns. He was picked off twice. Dominic Lawrence rushed for 79 yards on 11 carries. Sarnowski and Noah Becker each had an interception. Gradwohl said that he initially thought that Becker wasn’t going to be able to play.

“I thought the defense played great,” Gradwohl said. “We had that fumble in the second half that gave them a short field. But other than that I thought our defense really played awesome. Offensively, we had a couple of key injuries. … We had to kind of work our way around it. It wasn’t awesome, but it was good. It was good enough. We made some things happen. We ran some plays that we haven’t run since last year. But the kids remembered them and kind of went with it and it worked out.”

Gradwohl praised the leadership of Chappell, who called almost every play in the fourth quarter.

“I would call a play. He would check to something else,” Gradwohl said. “He checked because it was a good check. I’m just so proud of him and the way he runs our offense.

“He ran for some great first downs. He scrambled and made some big plays for us and threw some great balls.”

The Warriors’ reward for its victory over Gig Harbor (5-5) is a Friday night matchup with top ranked and state semifinal Eastside Catholic (9-0), who beat Stanwood 42-7. This isn’t the first time the two teams have met in the postseason. The Crusaders beat the Warriors 49-20 in a Quad-District playoff game in 2015. Eastside Catholic went on to defeat Bellevue in the state title game.

“Next week is going to be a big challenge,” Chappell said. “If we can win that game, who knows?”

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