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Friday Harbor clobbers Orcas 42-7 in season opener
The Friday Harbor Wolverines got out of the gates looking a little wobbly and a bit uneven at times in the season opener Friday.
But a rash of penalty flags, a fumble or two and a nagging case of first-game jitters early on couldn't stop the Friday Harbor football team from claiming its fifth-straight Island Cup with a bruising 42-7 victory at home over the visiting Orcas Vikings.
Now, the real test begins. The Wolverines are on the road for three consecutive games beginning Saturday with a 2 p.m. showdown at Meridian.
Though unsteady at start, the Wolverines shook off a series of miscues and the offense began to click late in the opening period. Starting quarterback Mike Ausilio tallied the first of six unanswered touchdowns on a 25-yard TD run with three minutes remaining in the first quarter. Senior tailback Austin Scheffer added two more, one coming on a blocked punt deep in Viking territory before the half to give Friday Harbor a 21-0 lead at the break.
"Parker (Lawson) talked about it before the play and said he'd clear a path for me," Scheffer said of his first-ever blocked punt. "I felt a solid thud and when I looked down it was right there. It was like a dream."
After the break, tight end Jordan Nash and Roy Taylor, who took over quarterbacking duties in the second half, hooked up on a 70-yard touchdown strike with just 30 clicks off the clock and the rout was on. Scheffer notched his third TD of the game on a third-quarter running play and Taylor tallied the team's final touchdown in the fourth and, at that point, the outcome was academic. Kicker Cody Price, a senior, was a perfect 6-of-6 in point-after-attempts.
With 60 seconds left in the game, the Vikings avoided a second-straight shutout in the annual inter-island grudge match when running back Tyler Nigretto broke through Friday Harbor's second-string defense for a 12-yard TD.
With the win, Friday Harbor is on its longest string of victories since the inter-island rivalry began 18 years ago. It also gave first-year Head Coach Darrin Scheffer a win in his debut at the helm.
Following the game, with the trophy in hand, Scheffer praised the team for a dominating performance in its opening game. But there's much fine-tuning that needs to be done — like cutting down on penalties — for a successful season, he said.
"This was step in the right direction," Scheffer said. "But we still have a long way to go."
Notebook ... Former Friday Harbor standout Tyler Hart had one reception for Eastern Washington University in the Eagles' 31-24 loss to Colorado, Saturday in Boulder.