Wolverines down La Conner in season-opener; 20-14

The Wolverines tallied two second-half touchdowns and fought off a late-game rally to open the 2011 season with a 20-14 victory over La Conner, Friday, at home.

Friday Harbor never trailed, but the Braves kept the hometown crowd on edge by turning a fumble and a deep pass into a pair of TDs near the end of the final period of play.

“Overall, I’m pleased with our effort, as young as we are,” Friday Harbor Head Coach Darin Scheffer said. “The mistakes we made I think are correctable. The guys walked out onto the field with enthusiasm and they walked off the field with enthusiasm. That’s what I wanted.”

Up 6-0 at the half, the Wolverines grabbed a 12-0 lead early in the third period as sophomore Dylan Radden scampered 60 yards to post the team’s second touchdown just after the break. Quarterback Donald Galt, forced out of the pocket and under pressure on the ensuing point-after-attempt, found Radden open in the end zone as the Wolverines added another two points to the total.

With just over a minute left in the third quarter, the Braves put their first two points on the board as a poor snap on a punt attempt led to a safety in the Wolverines end zone. La Conner cut the deficit down to six as running back Dahlton Zavala bulled into the end zone for the first of his two touchdowns midway through the fourth quarter.

On the next possession, running back Tate Brumsickle scored on a 35-yard TD run to put Friday Harbor up 20-14. The Wolverines failed to convert the extra-point.

“In the first half, it didn’t seem like we were clicking like in practice,” Radden said. “We talked about that at halftime at it just seemed to come together in the second half.”

Trailing 20-8, La Conner ended up on the Wolverines 1-yard line with just under two minutes left in the game by converting a deep pass up the sideline. Galt made a touchdown-saving tackle to keep the Braves out of the end zone on the play.

Nearly a minute elapsed as Friday Harbor’s defensive squad turned back the Braves on three successive plays. Zavala bulled into the end zone with 38 seconds left on the clock and the Braves now down by six.

The Wolverines ran out the clock following the ensuing kickoff, and pocketed the season-opening win.

“It’s the first game of the season and I think we were still getting the jitters out,” senior lineman Connor Smith said. “But the game, it was fantastic.”

Next: The Wolverines face Orcas on the road Saturday as the annual inter-island grudge match takes place this year on the Vikings home field; kick off is 1 p.m.