UPDATE: South Whidbey wins first league game over Lakewood

Falcon running back Henry Mead sweeps around a few Cougar defenders during South Whidbey’s 42-21 defeat of Lakewood Friday night.  - Jeff VanDerford / The Record
Falcon running back Henry Mead sweeps around a few Cougar defenders during South Whidbey’s 42-21 defeat of Lakewood Friday night.
— image credit: Jeff VanDerford / The Record

LANGLEY — South Whidbey overcame punishing penalties and terrible turnovers Friday to beat the Lakewood Cougars 42-21 in the first Cascade Conference game of the year.

The unbeaten Falcons are 1-0 in league play and

3-0, overall and have outscored their first three opponents 106 to 35.

Falcon Henry Mead carried the ball 27 times for 294 yards and a touchdown, Danny Zuver had four TDs on 13 carries plus a two-point conversion. Defensive end Nick Tenuta made a fumble recovery, then scurried 12 yards for the game’s first touchdown; it was the Falcon’s first scoop and score on the season.

The team ended up with 375 yards rushing and 81 yards passing for the night.

Those performances were crucial, because South Whidbey suffered 12 penalties for 135 yards, a new team record.

“There were some rule interpretation differences between myself and the referees,” said Falcon coach Mark Hodson. “We’ll be working on cleaning up our game this week, and the guys all understand that.”

The game began well when Hunter Rawls intercepted Cougar quarterback Justin Lane and TJ Russell punted to Lakewood’s two-yard line. Luke Hodson intercepted another pass from Lane, but then it was Rawls’ turn to get a pass snagged by the other side.

Cougar running back Saul Velasco made his presence felt until nose guard Trapper Rawls shut him down at the line of scrimmage.

Several holding penalties were assessed against both teams, then suddenly Tenuta seized a loose ball and ran it in for six.

At the start of the second quarter, the Cougars went ahead 7-6 on a quarterback sneak.

Throughout the game, Rawls maintained his cool in the pocket, handing the ball to Mead who started to rack up serious yardage.

With 7:24 left in the half, Mead caught the ball on the one-yard line and Zuver carried it in for a 12-7 lead.

Falcon lineman David Monell sacked Lane for a loss and a few plays later Zuver picked up his second TD to make it 19-7 — the Cougars were being outhustled on offense and defense.

But not dead yet. With 2:51 left in the half, Lane ran the ball on a sweep to make it 19-14.

Mead had the ball stripped twice but was undeterred as he continued to probe Lakewood’s weak points.

The Cougars tried a successful onside kick to start the second half, but the Falcon defense tightened in response, despite a series of questionable holding calls. Hodson caught a big 45-yard pass from Rawls, and Zuver made his third TD — plus a two-point conversion — to make it 27-14 when the third quarter ended.

With 7:56 left in the game a partially revived Lakewood offense made a TD to bring the score to 27-21, but Mead and Zuver both capped their night with a TD apiece for the 42-21 final.

Lakewood coach Dan Teeter said he was surprised at the number of turnovers suffered by both sides.

“The Falcons have a lot of talent on their roster, and I predict they’ll win a lot of games,” he said. “They hit hard and were in great condition. Tonight was a good high school football game. Good, but not always pretty.”

Conditioning was a key factor. In the fourth quarter, Cougar players were clearly spent, while the Falcons seemed eager to play a second game.

For his part, Zuver credited the offensive line: Trapper Rawls, Greg Nelson, Joe Kinser and Myles Divina. “They blow out big holes on the line, and that makes my job easier,” he said.

Hunter Rawls had 11 passes for 81 yards, Tenuta and Hodson two catches each.

Hodson noted that Rawls has become a great field leader.

“Hunter is a real cool character, great under pressure,” he said.

For the defense, the Cougars spread offense attempted 37 passes and completed 17 of them, allowing defensive back Jon Poolman to lead the Falcons with five tackles, two pass defenses and one interception.

Linebacker Jake Parrick had four tackles with a fumble caused, while Monell had four tackles, a fumble caused, a fumble recovered and a quarterback sack.

On Friday, Sept. 26 the Falcons travel to Cedarcrest; the Red Wolves are also unbeaten, and coach Hodson noted most of last year’s starting line-up is returning.

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