Falcons show improvment against powerhouse

"Outside linebacker Chris Martin made the hit of the game for the Falcons. The fumble he created resulted in an 82-yard touchdown run by Andy Wills.Jim Larsen, staff photoOne big play brought the crowd to its feet, and the Falcons overall showed their coach some improvement in game two of the football season Friday night.The fact the home team lost 66-6 was almost beside the point. The visiting team was Meridian, one of the state's AA powerhouses. They didn't win the state championship last year, as The Record reported last week. They finished second. They won the championship the year before.Judging by the Trojans' play at Waterman Field, they'll be contending for another state title this year. They executed plays flawlessly and displayed some highly skilled players, such as running back Jesse Alderson. Game stats weren't available, but Alderson gained well over 100 yards and scored several touchdowns.Still, the Falcons gave their crowd something to cheer about. In the second quarter, already ahead 33-0, Meridian was deep in Falcon territory. The quarterback lofted a pass toward the sidelines where the receiver caught the ball and was instantly crushed by a hard hit by Falcon outside linebacker Chris Martin. The impact could be heard around the stadium. The ball popped loose and South Whidbey's fastest player, Andy Wills, picked it up and scampered 82 yards for the touchdown. The crowd cheered wildly, then settled down to watch the rout continue.Wills racked up over 100 yards offensively for the game. As South Whidbey's outstanding player in the home opener, he received the Wally Lehman Award, presented by the late youth sports leader's son, Jim Lehman.It was only Mark Hodson's second game as South Whidbey's head coach, and he was not displeased by what he saw. He said quarterback Jeremy Iversen showed improvement, and receiver Chuck Applebee made several good catches. He too was impressed by Martin's big hit, and he said Martin played well overall on defense. Nick Plastino, cornerback, was credited with an outstanding defensive game.They're just a good team, Hodson said of Meridian. Because of the new system Hodson is installing, he said, Everyone on our team is a freshman -- it's a new program for the kids, and we have lots of new kids who turned out.This week the Falcons get a break from the powerful Whatcom County teams in the North Cascades Conference. They travel to Lakewood, which is something of a peer institution for South Whidbey. The Cougars lost 50-7 last Friday to Blaine. In other league action Friday, it was Nooksack Valley over Granite Falls 59-7 and Lynden Christian over Sultan 49-0. "

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