Edmonds-Woodway claims Wesco 3A South title | Football

Warriors take down Panthers, host playoff contest Friday night
By David Pan | Nov 02, 2017
Photo by: David R Pan Edmonds-Woodway senior running back Kelly Jackson weaves through the Snohomish defense during a Wesco 3A South game Friday, Oct. 27, at Edmonds Stadum.

Back in mid-August, senior quarterback Reilly Chappell and his teammates started practicing for what they hoped would be a first for their class – a Wesco 3A South football championship.

Ten weeks later, the Warriors realized their goal of a league title by defeating Snohomish 38-17 in the regular season finale Friday, Oct. 27, at Edmonds Stadium.

“It’s absolutely phenomenal,” Chappell said. “This is what we were dreaming of. We knew we had a really strong class of seniors that hasn’t gotten to experience a Wesco title as varsity members of the team. This is just a blast.”

Chappell completed 14 of 21 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns to lead Edmonds-Woodway (6-0 in the league, 8-1 overall). His favorite target was junior wide receiver Jaro Rouse, who caught seven passes for 162 yards and two TDs.

Even though the Warriors rushed for 196 yards, the Panthers (4-2, 5-3) at times were able to slow Edmonds-Woodway’s ground game.

“They did a heck of a job with the run, so we needed to throw the ball to try and loosen them up a little bit,” Edmonds-Woodway coach John Gradwohl said. “It wasn’t the prettiest, but it worked. I thought Reilly moved in the pocket well and just did some really nice things and we got the ball to some different receivers. It was a start. It was a really good start.”

Rouse dedicated his performance to teammate Niko Cooper, whose grandmother recently died.

“I played my heart out for my teammate Niko Cooper and the loss of his grandmother,” Rouse said. “That’s the main reason I played my heart out.”

Chappell said that coming into the game he had a feeling the passing game might be important. He and Rouse practiced all week with that in mind.

“We haven’t been throwing the pass as much the past few weeks and I’ve been driving in to him … this is going to be the week,” Chappell said. “The Snohomish game, this is when we’re going to hook up. We were able to connect on some really nice passes downfield and some really nice screen passes that jump started the offense.”

Snohomish moved up its safeties to help stop the Edmonds-Woodway run game.

“We took advantage of their defense,” Rouse said.

As the Wesco 3A South No. 1 seed, the Warriors host Gig Harbor in a district playoff game at 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 3, at Edmonds Stadium.

Gradwohl doesn’t mind having to go on the road during the playoffs but said that playing at home also had its advantages.

“You get your home fans here and you’re comfortable in your own surroundings,” he said. “To start the playoffs at home, it’s a good start for us.”

After Snohomish’s Conner Smith kicked a 33-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead, Edmonds-Woodway responded with a 3-yard touchdown run by Jalil Marinez and went into the second quarter ahead 7-3.

Edmonds-Woodway’s Jackson Karr kicked a 40-yard field goal and Chappell threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Rouse in the second quarter.

The Panthers countered with a 76-yard TD run by senior running back Keegan Stich to cut the Warriors’ lead to 17-10 with 4:36 remaining in the second quarter.

Chappell then found Rouse on a 19-yard touchdown pass with 40 seconds to go and Edmonds-Woodway headed to the locker room with a 24-10 lead.

The Warriors extended their advantage to 31-10 on a 2-yard touchdown run by senior running back Kelly Jackson, who became the primary running back after junior Capassio Cherry was forced to the sidelines with a leg injury. Cherry still finished with 84 yards on 14 carries. Jackson had 60 yards on 15 carries and one TD.

Snohomish cut the lead to 31-17 when Trenton Brown recovered one of his teammate’s fumble in the end zone, as time ran out in the third quarter.

Defensive back Bryan Sarnowski capped a strong performance by the Edmonds-Woodway defense by intercepting a pass and returning it 52 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Aside from his 76-yard TD run, Stich was kept largely in check by the Warriors.

“When you play him, it’s team defense,” Gradwohl said. “I told the kids you guys let up and took a breath and what did he do? He took it to the house. You can’t take a breath with him. You’ve got to be on him all the time.”

The hard-hitting nature of Friday’s game was felt on the sidelines as a number of Warriors ended the game on the sidelines.

When Cherry went out, Edmonds-Woodway called on Jackson, Chappell noted. Senior wide receiver Aaron Richardson also got injured.

“Niko Cooper came in and had a really nice catch on an improvised route in the second quarter,” Chappell said. “We’ve got lots of good depth and that’s big going into the playoffs.”

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