Falcons handily defeat Tigers with Lodell, Guetlin fueling offense

From the second Michael Lodell touched the opening kickoff against Granite Falls last Saturday, the football game belonged to South Whidbey.

Playing at Granite Falls, Lodell, a senior running back, carried the opening kickoff 89 yards to score the Falcons first touchdown. It was the first of three Falcons touchdowns against Granite Falls in the first half. South Whidbey also tacked on another touchdown in the fourth quarter to take a 29-0 lead.

Granite Falls did not score until the final play of the game, when they reached the end zone against South Whidbey’s second string defense. The Tigers then added a two-point conversion to set the final score at 29-8.

Defensively, South Whidbey applied consistent pressure and took advantage of numerous Granite Falls miscues. Four fumbles were recovered, four sacks were registered and the Falcons nabbed two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown. Senior Jason Gilberts led the defense with five solo tackles, two sacks and one caused fumbles. Senior Sheridan Catlin also helped in the winning cause with five solo tackles, two assists, one sack and one fumble recovery.

With the win, South Whidbey has now defeated the Tigers for at least the past six years. Despite their domination in the series, though, the Falcons do not take the victories for granted.

“It’s still fun to win,” said senior offensive lineman Shae Parada.

But Mark Hodson, the Falcons head coach, said the muddy condition of the field, and cold and wet conditions did not make it easy on the players.

‘We had horrible turf and bad weather, but our kids were able to overcome it,” he said.

The players were able to score quickly by taking advantage of what Parada said wasn’t a very well disciplined Tigers team. In fact, Hodson said the first half was an “ugly game,” with numerous personal fouls, including a late hit on Lodell after his opening touchdown.

Following that touchdown and failed extra point attempt by senior Nash Compton, South Whidbey recovered the ensuing kickoff. Seven plays later, Lodell, who tallied 20 yards in the game as a running back, charged seven yards into the end zone for the second touchdown. Senior fullback Dane Guetlin added two more points when he burst into the end zone for the two point conversion.

“We had 14 points before they even touched the ball,” Hodson said.

The defenses then went to work, keeping the teams scoreless until minutes into the second quarter. That’s when Guetlin said the Granite Falls quarterback did not appear to anticipate him defending a Tigers receiver and seemed to throw the ball to him.

After nabbing the interception, he received some good blocks on his way to return the ball 77 yards for a touchdown. South Whidbey then added a two point conversion to round out the first half scoring.

It would prove to be a prolific day for Guetlin, who finished the game leading all offensive players with 12 carries for 103 yards and two touchdowns. The second touchdown occurred when Guetlin dashed 63 yards into the end zone in the fourth quarter for his second touchdown of the game.

After Guetlin’s touchdown, Compton ended South Whidbey’s scoring when his extra point sailed through the uprights. Also helping in the winning effort was senior running back Michael Osburn, who contributed to South Whidbey’s total offensive output of more than 200 yards with 10 carries for 51 yards.

South Whidbey’s 2004 home schedule ends Friday against Sultan. .

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