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UPDATE | Big plays help Falcons tame Tigers in 20-7 road win
GRANITE FALLS — South Whidbey defeated Granite Falls High School 20-7 on the Tigers’ home turf on Friday.
On a soaked grass field, the Falcons scored first on their second offensive play of the night. Junior quarterback Avery Buechner threw into the middle for Austin Bennett.
Bennett bobbled the ball, was hit, broke a tackle and ran in for the score. The point-after try missed short.
Later in the first quarter, TJ Russell fumbled a low snap and was sacked deep in the backfield.
“Our biggest problem was we didn’t have a good exchange,” said Falcon head coach Andy Davis.
Russell came in for a few snaps, working a two-quarterback system Davis called a work in progress. Starting quarterback Buechner said he didn’t mind the two-quarterback setup and explained it gives him needed rest between plays and keeps the defense off balance.
Against Granite Falls, South Whidbey went to the air often, despite the dismal weather.
“When you have an accurate quarterback like we do, you can still throw in the rain,” Davis said.
In the second quarter, with four minutes remaining in the first half, Buechner aired out a pass to senior Russell for a 25-yard touchdown.
Davis went for a two-point conversion, and Bennett delivered again, sliding on his knees for the catch in the middle of the end zone, giving South Whidbey a 14-0 lead.
“It’s all the coach [Davis],” Buechner said. “I just do what he tells me to do.”
Granite Falls marched down the field behind a relentless run offense in the closing minutes of the first half, however.
The Tigers had the Falcons backed up to the end zone before being stopped on the six-yard line at fourth down and four.
South Whidbey opened the second half with a Buechner-Russell connection that led to a missed field goal. Granite Falls rallied with a dump pass to the tight end, who ran 50 yards for the score, and the Tigers trailed 14-7.
The heavy rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the Falcons. The South Whidbey defense took its turn in the fourth quarter in one of the opening plays for Granite Falls. Senior defensive end Tyler “Chuck” Norris rushed the quarterback, who errantly pitched the football, which senior Sam Lee recovered for the score.
“It was just effort,” Norris said. “When our team displays full effort we make big plays.”
South Whidbey missed the PAT, making the final score 20-7.
“Their defense wasn’t very disciplined,” Buechner said. “Our receivers did their job and our offensive line was amazing.”
The Falcons host the Wildcats of Archbishop Murphy Friday night.
“If they look at the film from the Granite Falls game, they’ll know they need to cover us better,” Buechner said.