Close loss keeps Falcons from advancing to playoffs | SOUTH WHIDBEY FOOTBALL

South Whidbey senior quarterback Charlie Patterson sits in the pocket while looking for an open receiver during Thursday night’s game against Sultan. The Falcons lost 34-32 on Senior Night.

In the end, there just wasn’t enough time for South Whidbey’s football team on Senior Night.

The Falcons lost to the Sultan Turks, 34-32, on Thursday night at Waterman’s Field. It was another tough break for South Whidbey, which dropped to 1-8 overall and 0-7 in the Cascade Conference. Sultan improved to 2-7 overall, 2-5 in league. The Falcons were battling for the league’s final Class 1A postseason berth, but came up short.

The Falcons will host Northwest Conference team Nooksack Valley at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6 at Waterman’s Field for their final game of the season.

South Whidbey had three opportunities to tie Sultan during two-point conversion attempts while trailing by two points with just under five minutes left in the fourth quarter.

But two holding penalties negated two converted attempts by junior running back Connor Antich and freshman receiver Westley Craine. The Falcons’ third attempt fell short when senior quarterback Charlie Patterson was sacked in the backfield.

Patterson had a career-best passing performance, despite the loss. The senior’s unofficial stats were 27 attempts out of 38 passes for 327 yards and five touchdowns and one interception.

But those numbers didn’t seem to matter all that much to Patterson. He was just doing whatever he could to win the game.

“In a game like this, I just wanted to take shots — high risk, high reward kind of thing,” Patterson said. “Credit to my receivers tonight, they were animalistic. They’re beasts, they broke tackles and got open.”

Patterson’s top connection was fellow senior Tanner Lobdell.

The receiver caught six passes for 216 yards and one touchdown. On the Falcons’ second offensive play of the game, Patterson stepped back and slung a pass for Lobdell running down the left sideline. The pass landed right in Lobdell’s stride, who took it 89 yards for a touchdown.

“We have improved drastically from just previous weeks of playing,” Lobdell said. “Everybody tries their hardest on every single play and we’re putting our hearts into the game.”

The pair made another crucial connection in the fourth quarter when Patterson found Lobdell while scrambling from the pocket. Lobdell broke off from his post route and then fought to bring in Patterson’s heave while on the run for a 48-yard completion. The completion would later set up the Falcons’ final touchdown to give them the opportunity to tie the game.

The outcome wasn’t what the Falcons wanted, but the game’s high intensity and close score kept Senior Night as entertaining as could be.

“It just kept it intense,” Patterson said. “I think it gave us that extra focus and drive. It made it a lot more fun. I couldn’t have asked for a more fun game on Senior Night.”

Thirteen seniors were honored during pre-game ceremonies: Patterson, Lobdell, Kohl Hunter, Trevor Miller, Xavier Wilson, Anthony Eveland, Kyle Chambers, Caleb Bartel, Josh Lancaster, Chandler Hagglund, Thomas Rasmussen, Max Divina and Jared Eckert.

Patterson, Lobdell, Eveland, and Eckert all contributed scores on the night.

Juniors Antich and Hunter Newman also contributed big plays. Newman blew up the Turks’ backfield in the second quarter, which halted a string of momentum by Sultan. The turnover led to Antich’s 40-yard touchdown reception while facing a 4th-and-10 situation in the second quarter.

Eveland scored two touchdowns in the second and fourth quarters, including a 30-yard score which brought the Falcons to within two points of the Turks. Eckert scored with :31 seconds left in the third quarter on a 7-yard, over-the-shoulder catch from Patterson.

The Falcons’ missed extra points in the first and second quarters proved costly for South Whidbey’s chances of winning.

Standing next to Patterson and Lobdell on the field following the game, first-year head coach Michael Coe couldn’t hide his disappointment. Though optimistic about the program’s future, where he plans to continue building the weight-lifting regiment and further instill his coaching philosophies, he lamented the seniors who wouldn’t be able to experience it.

“It hurts because everything is coming together so much better,” Coe said. “But we’re laying down the foundation for what’s to come, but it just sucks that these two are gone next year.”

Coe said that Nooksack Valley likes to throw the ball, so he expects another tight contest on Friday night.

“We’re going to put it on them with everything we got,” Coe said.