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Unbeaten Falcons headed for Tacoma Dome

  • Written by Don Mann
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Devin McKee takes a Union guy down to the ground. Photo by Don Mann.
Woodinville’s defense dominates during the day, too.

Hosting Union at Pop Keeney in the Class 4A quarterfinals on an unusual 2 p.m. start, the Falcons (12-0) were as bone-chilling as the weather, applying hit after hit after hit on its opponent to walk away proudly with a 21-9 victory.

Fact is, it was 14-zip at half, a stone cold 21-3 with 2:30 remaining when the Titan quarterback broke for a funky scrambling touchdown after the contest was out of reach. Window dressing.

Nobody runs on this Woodinville defense. They just don’t.

They’re just too deep, too fast and too tough. And when they tackle, you get tackled. It’s a downright nasty bunch. They’ll even steal your lunch money.

Alec Schwend ran for 122 yards on 18 carries, but his first of two touchdowns – a 19-yarder – set a tone as the first quarter expired.

The Falcons made it 14-zip as Brett Arrivey fired a rifle shot to Beau Vintertun on second-and-5, through a closing window of tight defenders who didn’t know what was coming. They got there late: bus ride.

Union managed a field goal on its first drive in the second half to make it 14-3, but the Titans from Camas could later neither run it nor stop the run as the Falcons delivered kill shots: Branden Shrout, Sawyer Whalen, Lee Wunderlich, Trey Fornelius...all those guys, and others, manned up. Nasty boys delivered punishment.

Schwend scored again on a 13-play drive–a 5-yarder on third-and-goal to end the competition.

It was Woodinville’s 12th-straight win, one for the books, but coach Wayne Maxwell could care less about the numbers.

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Branden Shrout, 21, and Caleb Hamilton, 2, meet at the ball carrier. Photo by Don Mann.
“Hey, we tell our kids we’ll play anyone, anytime...anywhere and they’re good with that. They just want to go play. They love football.”

The challenge this week, he said, was matching up with some big boys who were playing well.

“Their fullback is 220 and their running backs are over 200 pounds and physical. Our guys knew we had to come out and match that ‘cuz they’re some big boys. But you put a challenge out to this group and they’re just gonna get after it, show who was more physical and they made a big statement,” he said with a daytime twinkle in his eye.

Said Branden Shrout, who was a wrecking ball at linebacker with three thunderous game-changing hits: “Oh, man, running, blitzing, tackling...it’s so great. I’m really living a dream right now and I can’t even explain it.”

How does the defense maintain its intensity, he was asked. “We just remind ourselves of the potential we have, the talent, the hard work we put in ... Nobody wants to let anybody down ...We realize we have the opportunity to do something special ... to make history.”

Woodinville will have that chance as they take on Skyline (9-3) on Saturday at the Tacoma Dome in the state semifinals.

The Spartans were 52-17 winners over Central Valley at the plateau last Saturday, and feature a long, tall junior quarterback with a big arm in an offense that likes to throw it a bunch.

But Max Browne is not Jake Heaps, and Kasen Williams is playing college football. Skyline is not the juggernaut it used to be.

Wanna go deep? Beau Vintertun, Devin McKee, Cody Bauman and Caleb Hamilton will have something to say about that.

Note: For a good 20 postgame minutes, a dozen or more Falcon seniors sat together on the turf at Pop Keeney, taking it all in. It was the last time they would share the moment, last game on their home field, and some were in tears of joy. Said Shrout: “Man, I’m gonna miss this place. It’s my favorite place in the entire world. A lotta dreams came true here.”

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