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Wolverines need some wins to stay in football playoff contention
The Wolverines got a cruel lesson about who not to put on the Homecoming guest list.
The Nooksack Valley Pioneers, ranked No. 7 among state 1A schools, turned the tables on Friday Harbor’s Homecoming celebration Saturday and left town with a convincing 22-7 start-to-finish victory in tow.
Buoyed by a strong showing against the Pioneers on the road earlier this season, the Wolverines had hoped to stage an upset and grab a foothold in what’s now an uphill battle for post-season play. But the team that crashed Saturday’s Homecoming festivities is not the same one that squeaked by Friday Harbor just four weeks ago.
It’s a lot better.
“They’ve definitely gotten better since we played them last,” Wolverine lineman Dalton Baker said.
“And it looks like they’re growing in confidence,” Friday Harbor Head Coach Darrin Scheffer added.
Powered by an offensive line weighing 200-plus pounds each, the Pioneers dominated the opening half. They scored the first two times they touched the ball, including a 90-yard touchdown drive to open the game, and led 14-0 at the half.
Friday Harbor managed just four first downs against an equally massive Nooksack Valley defensive squad and tallied just 89 yards of total offense.
With the defeat, Friday Harbor, at 3-4, tumbled below the .500 mark for the first time this season and is winless in four outings against its Whatcom County rivals. They will need wins at home Saturday against Meridian and on the road at Lynden Christian the following week to avoid being eliminated from post-season play.
With a sweep of its two-game season series with Friday Harbor, Nooksack Valley (6-1) remains undefeated in 1A competition and favored to claim the top seed in the upcoming regional playoffs. Meridian and Lynden Christian have wins over the Wolverines, as well as each other.
After the break, Friday Harbor was back on its heels but twice took the ball over on downs thanks to a pair of rugged goal-line stands. But the Pioneers pinned Wolverine running back Roy Taylor in the end zone for a safety and then grabbed a 22-0 lead after scoring a touchdown on their next possession.
Outmatched in the trenches, Friday Harbor turned to the shotgun and the passing game to keep its hope of a comeback alive. Despite two interceptions, they had some success against the Pioneers’ secondary.
Wide receiver Jordyn Taylor hauled in three passes for 36 yards, Dylan Galligan caught a 13-yarder, the first of his high school career, and senior Jordan Nash had a 13-yard reception as well.
“We were able to make some passes,” Scheffer noted, “when we had time to throw, that is.”
But 62 yards, here and there, on 5-of-17 pass attempts, wasn’t enough to turn the tide. The Wolverines trailed by 22 points with just seven minutes left in regulation.
They tallied their only touchdown midway through the final period thanks to a fumble recovery by linebacker Austin Scheffer on the Nooksack Valley 2-yard line. Tailback Mike Short was over the top and into the end zone on the very next play, and Cody Price booted the extra point to put the final point on the scoreboard.
Next, the Wolverines host Meridian Saturday. Kickoff is at noon.
The Wolverines are on the road at Lynden Christian Oct. 31; kickoff is at 6:30 p.m.
Notebook ... With less than 15 seconds on the clock, freshman running back Michael Davis scored the game-winning touchdown from 9 yards out to put the Friday Harbor JV football team over the Nooksack Valley JV 32-30, Saturday at Friday Harbor.