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A winning season for South Whidbey football
Scoring the second-most points of the season in a 51-31 win over Cedar Park Christian on Nov. 8 gave South Whidbey football its first overall winning record in almost six years.
Facing the Cougars, a non-league opponent, the Falcons took to the air often for big play after big play. The Falcons scored on receiving touchdowns of 43, 50 and 65 yards late in the game to take the lead over the visiting Cougars.
“It was fun to win the final game, win at home on the last game of the season,” said Falcon co-head coach Mark Hodson.
Playing without senior quarterback Nick French most of the game, South Whidbey hardly missed a beat with junior Parker Collins running the plays. Collins threw four touchdowns to three different receivers and tallied 227 yards — 163 came on scoring tosses alone.
Most of South Whidbey’s games this season saw the Falcons score in the 20s, with a couple of aberrations against Coupeville with 57 points and low outings against Lakewood and Cedarcrest.
Other than a couple of special teams and offense errors, South Whidbey’s defense controlled the scoreboard.
“Three of their touchdowns are on our mistakes,” Hodson said. “Our defense completely dominated the line of scrimmage.”
In the season’s final game, South Whidbey started off a bit rocky with a 37-yard interception by Cedar Park Christian for a quick lead.
South Whidbey answered with a 10-play scoring drive. Big plays, including a 26-yard rumble by junior Kohl Hunter and a 12-yard catch by senior Kale Reichersamer led to a 3-yard run by senior Cooper Nichols.
After trading possessions, South Whidbey tipped Cedar Park Christian’s punt for a shortened field. That helped South Whidbey put together a 14-play scoring drive. Collins led the way with major gains through the air, including 15-yard and 32-yard tosses to Reichersamer, an 11-yard throw to senior Nick Bennett and an 8-yard touchdown catch by Reichersamer.
Down seven points, Cedar Park Christian answered with a quick 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. The Eagles forced the Falcons to punt their ensuing possession and led to a 1-yard touchdown.
A quick scoring drive was set up by a 66-yard rumble from junior Deven Damerau, which led to a 4-yard run by Nichols.
The Falcons’ defense forced the Eagles to punt on their next possession, which senior Uriah Beason returned to Cedar Park territory. Collins found senior Jordan Parrick across the middle of the field for a quick throw which led to a big gain of 43 yards and a touchdown and the go-ahead score.
Defense again stifled the Eagles, whose punt was tipped by Bennett. After short gains, Collins fired a deep bomb to Bennett for a 50-yard touchdown.
South Whidbey’s final score came on another big play, a 65-yard touchdown catch by Bennett down the Eagles’ sideline after he burned Cedar Park’s defensive back one-on-one.
Cedar Park was able to score two more touchdowns in the waning minutes against South Whidbey’s defensive substitutes.
Overall, South Whidbey finished with a 6-5 record and went 3-4 in the Cascade Conference. Though the team qualified for the District 1 playoffs, South Whidbey lost 7-0 in a special game, or rather one-half of a game, to Lynden Christian.
To break through the first round and push further in the postseason, Hodson said the players needed to take part in an offseason weight training program and play other sports to stay conditioned.
“These kids need to play basketball, they need to play baseball, they need to run track,” he said.