EDMONDS – Advantage, Edmonds-Woodway.
The Warriors turned the tables on WesCo 4A South rival Jackson at Edmonds Stadium on Friday night, taking a leg up with a big division-opening 35-28 victory over the 2012 champ Timberwolves.
“Jackson is probably the best team in the WesCo, and we took them out,” Warriors senior running back Mac McLachlan said. “Now we just have to play up to our standards the rest of the way. We can take it all.”
McLachlan’s third rushing touchdown of the game proved the game-winner, a 7-yard sprint up the middle with 28 seconds left.
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McLachlan’s chance was set up by a huge special teams play from Antonio Sherrill. The senior backup running back raced in off the right side and blocked a Jackson punt with two minutes left, giving E-W the ball at the Timberwolves 41.
Six running plays later, McLachlan got into the end zone and Edmonds-Woodway had a victory.
“I saw it open up and I just went for it,” McLachlan said.
The 6-foot senior had 170 yards on the ground on 18 carries along with his three scores.
E-W’s Junior Opoku-Mensah continued to build on his division-leading rushing totals . The senior came into the game having rushed for 415 yards, and he finished with 209 on 33 carries Friday night.
The Warriors rolled up 381 rushing yards and 503 total yards. Jackson, which had grabbed a 28-21 lead on Travante Robinson’s 4-yard run with 7:57 left to play, had 231 total yards.
“Tight games are exciting until you don’t win them,” Jackson coach Joel Vincent said. “Then they are tough.”
A year ago, Jackson (2-2 overall, 0-1 WesCo South) came off an unexpected loss to 3A Glacier Peak to beat the Warriors (4-0, 1-0) in a game that ultimately decided the division.
On Friday, the Timberwolves again were coming off a non-league loss to that same Glacier Peak squad. This time, Edmonds-Woodway extended Jackson’s losing streak.
“I told the kids, this game always goes to the end,” Warriors coach John Gradwohl said. “It always does. I feel lucky to get away with one.”
Edmonds-Woodway won despite giving up more points to the Timberwolves than it had in its first three games combined. The Warriors had outscored their first three opponents 104-14.
Opoku-Mensah scored his only touchdown on a 14-yard reception from the arm of Davis Giles, culminating an 80-yard scoring drive that gave the Warriors a 7-0 lead with 10:41 to play in the second quarter.
And it began a flurry of offense from both sides.
On the ensuing kickoff, Andrew Cho gathered in the ball at the 24. Instead of returning it himself, he took two steps toward his own goal line, and pitched the ball to Nick White.
White caught it in full stride, cut up the middle then to the outside and raced down the right sideline 76 yards to tie it up at 7-7.
Two plays later, Jackson had the ball back on the Warrior 31 after Isaiah Patrick made a diving interception of a Giles pass. Six plays later, White plunged in from the 1 and the Timberwolves had a 14-7 lead with 7:44 to go in the half.
McLachlan answered for E-W with a 7-yard jaunt up the middle with 5:34 that sent the game to the half tied at 14.