SNOHOMISH – Marysville-Pilchuck couldn’t help but at least peak ahead, right?
Sure, the games are played one week at a time.
But prior to playing the Glacier Peak Grizzlies for the WesCo 3A title and top seed to the district playoff round, the Tomahawks knew what could lie in wait if they lost on Friday at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium.
Quite simply, the Tomahawks’ huge 59-20 victory brought so much more than just a league title with it.
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It brought a measure of revenge. Glacier Peak beat the Tomahawks for the title a year ago.
“Last year, we lost to this same team in a tough game,” Tomahawks senior quarterback Jake Luton said. “I think the whole season, we’ve known we have a really good squad. We came out tonight against a good squad in Glacier Peak and put it to them.”
And it brought a reprieve of sorts. Marysville-Pilchuck’s playoff road now avoids the Bellevue Wolverines — at least until the state championship game. Marysville-Pilchuck coach Brandon Carson took a look, of course.
“No I didn’t. No I didn’t,” Carson insisted before smiling broadly. “No, sometimes you have to look ahead. But really, it’s about the next opponent.”
Along with WesCo 3A bragging rights, the victory gives No. 3 Marysville-Pilchuck the No. 1 seed into the round-of-32 of the state playoffs. The Tomahawks will host the winner of Friday’s Bishop Blanchet vs. Chief Sealth game on either next Friday or Saturday.
No. 6 Glacier Peak gets the No. 2 seed, and will face Wilson, the Narrows League’s third-place finisher.
Being the top seed has another advantage. It keeps Marysville-Pilchuck on the opposite half of the state bracket from nationally-ranked and unbeaten defending state champ Bellevue.
Glacier Peak, if it beats Wilson, not only is on Bellevue’s side — the Grizzlies would draw the Wolverines in the quarterfinals on Nov. 15 or 16.
Earning the WesCo title really took the Tomahawks just seven minutes — actually the first 7:02 of the first quarter.
Marysville-Pilchuck scored three touchdowns in that quick span with the help of a Glacier Peak turnover and held the Grizzlies to just 15 yards of offense on six total plays.
Meanwhile, the Tomahawks got a five-yard scoring run from Deion Stell on its first drive, culminating a six-play, 79-yard drive. After Dante Fields recovered a Grizzlies fumbled snap at the Glacier Peak 25-yard line, Luton immediately found Stell on the next play for a touchdown strike and a 14-0 lead at 9:54 of the first quarter.
Three plays later, Marysville-Pilchuck had the ball back.
This time the Tomahawks (9-0) went 60 yards on nine plays. Luton’s 30-yard pass to Chris Jones put Marysville-Pilchuck up 21-0.
The Tomahawks won the title without the assistance of their most dynamic running back, junior Austin Joyner, who injured himself in the second half a week earlier against Oak Harbor. When he left that game, Joyner had gained 160 yards on just six carries.
Killian Page, Dante Fields and company picked up the slack against Glacier Peak (7-2), the WesCo South winner. Page ran for 218 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries, getting 107 of those yards on 13 rushes in the first half.
“We proved we’re a good team all around,” said Luton, who committed earlier this week to play next year for Idaho. “We didn’t have Austin tonight. I’m sure he’ll be back for next week.”
Fields may have had an even more impressive performance.
The senior receiver and defensive back caught three passes for 68 yards and two TDs, had three sacks of Glacier Peak quarterback Branson Corwin, and recovered two fumbles – including returning one for a 30-yard score at the start of the fourth quarter.
“He’s been a big defensive performer for us all year long,” Carson said of Fields. “We’re just happy to get out of here with the Wesco championship and now get ready for the playoffs.”