The Wolverines jumped out to 22-0 lead at the half thanks to a bruising rushing attack led by Nate Steenkolk and a pair of receptions and touchdown gallops by Sergio Trujillo.
They would need every bit of that lead and another touchdown, too, to fend off a second-half rally by La Conner and to post their third consecutive win, a dangerously close 30-28 victory, Friday, at home.
"They're a good team and they had momentum," Steenkolk said of the previously unbeaten Braves (3-1). "We just came out overconfident in the second half. We came out flat."
In a second half marred by injuries, including a 30-minute delay in which Friday Harbor's Brandin Allen and the Braves' Trey Johnson were each bundled onto a stretcher and left the field in an ambulance, the Braves drove 65 yards on their first possession to tally their first touchdown of the game.
The Wolverines (3-1) answered with a touchdown drive of their own, as Steenkolkd bulled into the end zone from five yards out to bump the lead back up to 30-7 with four minutes remaining in the third quarter.
From then on, it was all LaConner. Cashing in on turnovers, key receptions and long runs, the Braves posted 21 unanswered points, and, trailing by two, took over possession on their own 10-yard line with just over a minute left to play.
But the Friday Harbor defense held firm, and defensive back Peter Holt picked off a long pass near midfield with the Braves facing a third-and-10 and 90 yards away from the end zone.
Despite the win, the game proved too close for comfort for Friday Harbor Head Coach Richard Ledford. Too many turnovers allowed the Braves back into the game, he said.
“That’s not the way we want to keep it interesting,” said Ledford, noting that Wolverines starting lineup will have holes to fill now with injuries to Allen, Toby Frazier, and with a season-ending injury to Dylan Radden the week before.
“We didn’t have a lot of depth to start with.”
The Wolverines host the Trojans of Meridian (1-2) Friday, Oct. 4; kick off is 7 p.m.