Sports

Meridian crushes Falcons

South Whidbey Assistant Football Coach Donald Elliot, left,  helps EMTs and paramedics take senior Brandon Turner off the field Friday night during the Meridian game after the defensive player took a hit that broke his collarbone. - Matt Johnson
South Whidbey Assistant Football Coach Donald Elliot, left, helps EMTs and paramedics take senior Brandon Turner off the field Friday night during the Meridian game after the defensive player took a hit that broke his collarbone.
— image credit: Matt Johnson

The losses were not light Friday at Waterman Field.

Facing down the fifth-ranked 2A team in the state, the Falcon football team found that a touchdown in its first offensive drive was enough to knock the opposition back on its heels -- for one quarter, anyway.

But the march of the Meridian Trojans was something the Falcons could only block for just so long. Though they were hoping to stay close and keep the crowd in the first home game of the year, South Whidbey's Big Blue line faded in a 59-7 drubbing that put the brakes on a season that seemed to be heading in the right direction just two weeks ago.

Senior runningback Andy Wills was one of only a handful of Falcon players to make a dent in the Trojans' armor. To the cheers of a crowd hungry for a win on home territory after last year's 1-8 season, Wills took a handoff and benefitted from a key Jeremy Iversen block on the Falcons' third offensive play of the game for a 91-yard scamper down the field and into the end zone.

The excitement in the stands remained high as the Falcons kept the Meridan offense under control. In defiance of the state rankings, the Falcons held the Trojans to a 7-7 tie.

After that, there was little glory to be had by South Whidbey. In the second quarter, Meridian put two quick TDs on the board to take a 21-7 advantage. Then, while on another strong drive, the Trojans added injury to insult. While pursuing a Meridian runningback, Falcon senior Brandon Turner took the hardest hit of the game. Run down by the ball carrier, Turner was knocked out of the game, injured badly enough to require an ambulance ride to Whidbey General Hospital. He was later diagnosed as having broken his collarbone.

After the injury came more insult. The Trojans took two more runs into the end zone be for the end of the first half, the second with only one second remaining on the scoreboard.

The story was similar in the second half, as Meridian piled on 24 more points and dominated the Falcon offense. It took until late in the third quarter for South Whidbey to even come up with its second first-down of the game, thanks to a 15-yard Tim Gathings reception.

In the aftermath, Falcon Coach Mark Hodson said his team had some good performances to draw upon for upcoming games. He said solid rushing by Wills, a strong defensive performance from Michael Lodell, and offensive line work that has held the opposition to just one quarterback sack over the past three games are all good signs for the rest of the season.

Hodson said his team will learn quite a bit from Friday's game.

"They're open to be coached this year," he said.

Next up for the Falcons is an away game against Nooksack Valley Friday. Hodson said the game should be an even contest that could offer the 1-2 Falcons a chance to go to .500 overall and improve on their 1-1 North Cascades Conference record.

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