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Big plays, but Friday Harbor falls to Lynden Christian 27-21
In a game loaded with big plays, none proved bigger for Friday Harbor than having a pass picked off on the first play of overtime.
It set the stage for a dramatic 27-21 loss to Lynden Christian which, though arguably tops in entertainment value, knocked the Wolverines down to the bottom rung in the competition for post-season play.
“(The fans) probably got their money’s worth, but as a coach, it’s the kind of game you really want to come away from with a win,” Friday Harbor Head Coach Darrin Scheffer said.
Didn’t happen. But not for want of blue-chip plays.
Sophomore Roy Taylor returned a kickoff 78 yards for a touchdown, which gave the Wolverines a 21-14 lead. But even Taylor’s TD couldn’t bury the resilient Lyncs. And miscues and mistakes proved costly yet again for the Wolverines, which turned the ball over five times.
With the defeat, Friday Harbor dropped its first home game and fell to 3-3 overall. More importantly, Friday’s home loss to the Lyncs means the Wolverines are 0-3 against their 1A Whatcom County rivals so far.
They will square off against each of the three Whatcom schools one more time in the regular season, beginning Saturday with Nooksack Valley (5-1, 3-0), undefeated against its three 1A foes, in Friday Harbor’s homecoming game. Kickoff is 3 p.m.
“What it means is we’re in the having-to-come-from-behind mode,” Scheffer said of the three final regular-season games. “We’re all pretty close, but we’ve got Nooksack Valley next and they’re big and tough and playing well.”
Big plays started stacking up even before the Lyncs and Wolverines joined in a second-half scoring binge. They lit up the scoreboard with a combined 42 points over the final 24 minutes of regulation after battling to a 0-0 stalemate before the break.
In the second quarter, Wolverine safety Mike Short picked off a pass in the end zone that erased a potential TD. The Lyncs were knocking on the door on their next possession after pouncing on a fumble deep in Friday Harbor territory.
Cornerback Cody Price snagged an interception and galloped the length of the field for what appeared to be the first touchdown of the contest, only to have it nullified by an illegal block.
Friday Harbor had home field advantage, but no monopoly on drama.
Lynden Christian’s Niels Brisbane, who amassed 211 rushing yards, sparked the scoring barrage three minutes into the third quarter with a 80-yard touchdown run. Quarterback Daniel Tan Broek threw three interceptions, but tossed a touchdown pass and tallied 128 passing yards on 6-of-11 attempts.
And the Lyncs defense, with its back against the wall, blocked a potential game-winning field goal that would send the game into overtime.
The Wolverines tallied 315 yards of offense, 210 on the ground and 105 through the air. Quarterback Mike Ausilio rushed for 99 yards and a touchdown, and completed 9-of-16 pass attempts with two interceptions. Austin Scheffer had 97 yards rushing, including a 65-yard TD. But the turnovers, highlighted by a pair of first-half fumbles and the interception in overtime, proved pivotal, as did penalties.
Though the outcome may be difficult to bear, Coach Scheffer noted that there was no shortage of effort on the part of the Wolverines.
“The guys played hard the whole game. We’re very disappointed. But at least we walked off the field knowing that we fought the good fight.”