It was the first round of the playoffs, and suddenly the Falcons weren’t having fun. They were wound tight on this cold night at Pop Keeney. Here it was, almost halftime, and they were tied with Olympia, 0-0.
But then Woodinville (10-0) got on track in the game’s final 25 minutes. The slumbering giant awoke and went on to batter the Bears 28-7. The Falcons advanced to the next round of the State playoffs – and breathed a sigh of relief.
“Olympia came to play,” Woodinville offensive lineman Nick Hastings said. “They knew they were coming to face a challenge. We have a bull’s eye on our back, being undefeated and being in Kingco.”
“Good playoff atmosphere, both teams coming out competing,” Woodinville coach Wayne Maxwell said. “That was good for us to get that great effort from them, Hats off to Olympia for a great effort.”
But from the opening kickoff, Woodinville fans fretted throughout the first half. The offense struggled to move the football. And three turnovers and seven penalties were enough to render the student section subdued.
But with less than a minute before halftime, Falcon linebacker Miles Mustarde intercepted a pass in Oly territory. A long Brett Accimus run got Woodinville down to the Bear 4-yard line. Then with 23 second left, Matt Jones plunged over the right side for a 2-yard touchdown run. This score was the icebreaker the Falcons needed.
In the second half, Olympia opened up with the passing game. Bear quarterback Ketner Young threw repeatedly toward Woodinville’s diminutive cornerback Cage Schenck. The end result? Two Schenck interceptions and a string of incomplete passes.
“Our [defensive] front does a nice job of shutting things down,” Maxwell said. “And teams have to throw and they try to pick on Cage. He’s a young guy [sophomore] but he might be one of the best competitors on our ball club. He makes plays out there and is not intimidated one bit.”
“I noticed what they were doing,” Schenck said. “I was just thinking that I got to get one because they kept throwing my way. And so I needed to take advantage of the opportunity.”
Touchdown runs by Brett Accimus and Jaden Sheffey extended Woodinville’s lead to 21-0. Then in the fourth quarter, the Falcons looked to salt the game away. On fourth and two, Sheffey picked up the first down with a nice scramble. Moments later, he dropped back in the pocket and connected with Noah Stifle for a 28-yard touchdown.
“We’ve been working on the [post route] concept in practice,” Stifle said. “And when we called that play I knew I would get the ball.”
On the night, Falcon quarterback Jaden Sheffey was 15 of 24 for 147 yards and a touchdown. The tandem of Matt Jones and Brett Accimus combined for 167 yards rush-ing and two touchdowns. And the defensive duo of Quinn Schreyer and Jake Baillie combined for 9 tackles and 3 quarterback sacks.
After a season of blowout victories, Coach Maxwell summed things up.
“No question there are things we need to clean up,” Maxwell said. “But in the big picture, it’s good for us to go through a battle like this. If we want to get to our end goal, this was a good experience. There are good things we can draw from this.”
As the Olympia players boarded their team busses, a longtime Bears fan paused to reflect. “We used to call Olympia the `Fightin’ Tracy McGradys’,” he said. “For our inability to get out of the first round.”