RENTON — Woodinville wasn’t scared of top-seeded Kennedy Catholic’s high-powered offense.
The Falcons were ready to show that they’re pretty impressive on that side of the ball as well.
Woodinville rushed for 287 yards, running for 5.6 yards per carry, which helped keep the Lancers’ offense on the sideline for the bulk of the No. 8 Falcons’ 55-42 win over Kennedy Catholic in a Class 4A state quarterfinal game Saturday night at Renton Memorial Stadium.
“That’s kind of who we are,” Woodinville coach Wayne Maxwell said. “We’ve got a great offensive line, we have a heck of a running back, we have an athletic quarterback, we just kept doing what we did and we did it well tonight.”
The win sets up an all-KingCo 4A state semifinal Saturday between Woodinville (11-1) and No. 5 Bothell (10-2), which defeated Graham-Kapowsin 30-27 on Saturday.
Woodinville’s lone loss this season was to Bothell, 33-29 on Oct. 11.
“We want to come back and face them again,” Falcons running back Joey Johnson said. “We know we have what it takes to come out and give them a good fight.”
Aided by an interception return for a touchdown on defense, Woodinville jumped out to a 28-0 lead before the end of the first quarter.
The Falcons’ offense continued to grind out yards, and the clock, in the second half with quarterback Noah Stifle attempting just two pass attempts after halftime.
The senior quarterback finished 11 of 19 for 183 yards and three touchdowns and added 12 carries for 60 yards and two more touchdowns on the ground. He completed seven passes to fellow senior Cage Schenck for 113 yards including a 42-yard score.
“He’s a heck of an athlete, even bigger competitor,” Maxwell said of Stifle. “… He’s a kid that loves football, loves this team. There’s nobody harder on him than himself. He just loves the position. It’s a difficult position to play and he plays his heart out for us.”
Johnson led the rushing attack with 28 carries for 185 yards and a touchdown. The junior averaged 6.6 yards per carry running up the gut and into the heart of the Kennedy Catholic defense.
“He’s the best running back I’ve ever played with,” Stifle said. “He’s so talented and works super hard. It’s just good to see him succeed like this.”
Aside from a fumble in the second quarter, every drive for Woodinville ended with points until a 42-yard FG attempt in the fourth quarter bounced off the right upright. By then, the game was all but decided.
“We felt really confident in our kids,” Maxwell said. “Our seniors have played a lot of playoff football games here. This is, what, they’re second playoff game? We felt very comfortable coming out and competing. Yes they are very, very, very athletic and talented. But it’s a competition.”
Sam Huard led the way for Kennedy Catholic (11-1), going 34 of 50 for 421 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Sav’ell Smalls, the state’s top senior recruit, rushed for three touchdowns in his final game before heading to Washington.
Lancers coach Sheldon Cross was proud of his team, which recovered an onside kick to start the game overturned by a penalty, and the pride they showed going down early.
“I love our guys,” Cross said. “I just told them, ‘Keep your head high. That was a heck of a season.’ That’s a heck of a team over there. That’s a perennial powerhouse that’s always in the playoffs and in state championships. They played really well. I think they’re good enough to go win the whole thing.”