The effort was there.
Falcon football head coach Michael Coe knows at least that much.
Though, that didn’t make the pill of losing 45-0 to eighth-ranked in Class 2A Archbishop Murphy on Friday night at Waterman’s Field any easier to swallow.
Coe and the rest of the Falcons got a taste of what the powerhouse program is capable of producing as they rushed for 286 yards while holding the Falcons to 86 yards of total offense and forced four turnovers.
South Whidbey dropped to 0-3 in Cascade Conference play and 1-4 overall.
Despite dwindling numbers on the sidelines due to injuries, the Falcons still showed the resolve and determination that has been South Whidbey’s strongest point this season.
That much was evident early in the game and was especially true in the case of senior quarterback and defensive back Charlie Patterson.
After throwing an interception on the Falcons’ opening drive, which led to the Wildcats pushing the ball to South Whidbey’s 7-yard line, Patterson jumped a slant route intended for Archbishop Murphy wide receiver Kyler Gordon and managed to punch the ball into the air.
Senior Anthony Eveland, defending nearby, turned and snatched the ball for the interception and returned it seven yards.
“I just saw the ball in the air and just saw if I could catch it and I got it,” Eveland said.
The Falcons trailed by 7 at the end of the first quarter.
When the seams finally burst for the Falcons in the second, quarter they opened far and wide.
The Falcons threatened to score when they reached Archbishop Murphy’s 7-yard line.
That was when Wildcats’ cornerback Dillon Singh Halpin intercepted Patterson, reversing the threat.
The interception led to a 45-yard completion from Wildcat quarterback Connor Johnson to Gordon. Two plays later, Archbishop Murphy running back Kerry Jackson scored from three yards out to put Archbishop Murphy ahead, 14-0.
On the second play of the Falcons’ next possession, Patterson was intercepted again, this time by Anfernee Gurley, and returned for a 16-yard touchdown.
After a South Whidbey punt, the Wildcats added another score on a five-yard rush by Archbishop Murphy’s Jonathan Hines.
South Whidbey trailed 28-0 at halftime.
Falcon junior Connor Antich stopped the Wildcats’ opening possession of the second half in its tracks.
Johnson lobbed a pass intended for Emmanuel Osuoha to the right corner of South Whidbey’s endzone, but Antich stepped in front of Osuoha and snatched the ball while dragging his feet to stay in bounds for the interception.
The Falcons weren’t able to turn Antich’s takeaway into points and punted, which led to another Wildcats score.
Archbishop Murphy added another touchdown at the end of the third quarter on a three-yard rush by Austin Earl. Wildcat kicker Ryan Henderson closed out the scoring with a 26-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
“We played scrappy,” Patterson said. “We didn’t go out there thinking it was Archbishop, we just thought of it as another team. We obviously made mistakes and were outmatched in some situations, but I’m proud of the way we all put good effort in.”
The Falcons were in danger of falling victim to yet another blow from the injury bug when senior Chase Bartlett went down in the third quarter, but Bartlett would later return. Senior Xavier Wilson also left the game for a short time with an apparent ankle injury but would later return.
By a quick head count by a Record reporter prior to kickoff, 23 Falcons were suited up to play. Eleven players from both teams are required on the field at the start of every down.
The Falcons have already lost a number of starters to injury, including Tanner Lobdell, Jared Eckert, and Courtney Dunnigan. Lobdell is expected to return near the end of the season, while a timetable for the other injured players is not currently known.
South Whidbey will play second-ranked in Class 1A King’s at 7 p.m. Friday at Woolsey Stadium in Shoreline.
“I’m proud of the kids,” Coe said. “I thought they fought really hard and they didn’t give up. None of them have given up this year. There’s been moments where its been tough, but we have not given up as a team ever. That’s something as a coach that makes you proud of the team.”