Big plays and a sturdy defense put the Wolverines in position to pull off a come-from-behind win.
But Friday Harbor’s comeback bid came to abrupt halt with less than three minutes left in regulation as Meridian pocketed an 18-6 victory on a Friday on rain-soaked and mud-caked field in Friday Harbor.
It’s the second time in two years that a rival from Whatcom County put a damper on the Wolverines Homecoming game. Nooksack Valley spoiled the celebration a year ago.
Trailing 12-6, the Wolverines come-back bid came to an abrupt halt 82 yards from the Trojans end zone as the team failed to convert on fourth-and-11 with less than three minutes remaining in regulation. Meridian added a touchdown with 14 seconds left to go to pad their lead.
The Wolverines, who fell to 3-5 overall with the loss, suffered their second defeat of the season at the hands of the Trojans.
They had a chance, however, to settle the score. Quarterback Roy Taylor and wide receiver Forrest Dayton hooked up on a 40-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth period as Friday Harbor pulled within a TD of evening the score or taking the lead. Dayton slipped a tackle and then raced down the sideline and into the end zone with just over 10 minutes to play.
Senior Mike Ausilio, who picked off a Meridian pass earlier in the game, gave the Wolverines their best field position of the second half the play before with a 43-yard gain on the ground.
Rain, mud and poor field conditions took a toll on the offensive capabilities of both teams. On their last possession of the game, the Wolverines ran the ball three times and lost a total of one yard. Their fate was sealed when they turned the ball over on downs following an incomplete pass with under three minutes left to play.
Next: The Wolverines face Lynden Christian at home Friday in the regular-season finale; kickoff is 7:30 p.m.