At the very least, South Whidbey’s football team left Waterman’s Field with some dignity.
Late scores by the Falcons in the third and fourth quarters helped lessen the heartache of having lost to Cedarcrest, 44-14, on Homecoming Night at Waterman’s Field.
“I’m just glad we finished and showed some heart at the end of the game,” said senior quarterback Charlie Patterson. “We’re not the type of team to fold over. We may not have the best talent, but we have a lot of heart, and that’s what I’m proud of.”
Things didn’t start especially great for the Falcons.
Junior running back Hunter Newman fumbled on his first carry of the night for the Falcons on the team’s own 25-yard line. The Red Wolves recovered the ball but South Whidbey’s defense held strong, forcing an incompletion on fourth down..
But, after the Falcons started building momentum on offense with passes from Patterson to Newman, senior Jared Eckert, and freshman receiver Westley Craine, Newman fumbled again on fourth-and-1.
The Red Wolves recovered the ball at the 50-yard line and returned it 50 yards for the touchdown, putting Cedarcrest up 7-0 with 7:12 left in the first quarter.
The Falcons picked up where they left off after the turnover. Patterson completed a 60-yard pass to senior receiver Tanner Lobdell on third-and-10 to put the Falcons in scoring position.
The pass was initially dropped by Lobdell, but the ball bounced off the Red Wolves defender and then was caught by Lobdell, who was on the ground.
“It was exhilarating,” Lobdell said. “I think everybody just held their blocks and gave the team life, and gave (Patterson) the opportunity to throw the ball.”
The senior had missed a majority of the season with a collarbone injury, but returned to play in front of the home crowd.
Strong defense by the Red Wolves backed up on their own goal line prevented South Whidbey from converting the big play into points.
Patterson’s pass to Craine on fourth-and-goal was broken up by Cedarcrest defensive back Jeffrey Hepner.
Cedarcrest scored quickly following the turnover on downs, after a 60-yard rush by Red Wolves’ running back Alex Parnell.
The Falcons entered halftime trailing 37-0.
South Whidbey would finally get on the board following the halftime homecoming festivities.
Following a score by the Red Wolves to open the second hal, junior running back and wide receiver Connor Antich rushed 62 yards to the Red Wolves’ 28. Antich rushed for another eight yards before Patterson found pay dirt in the form of junior receiver Austin Sterba. Patterson rolled to his right and found Sterba open in the right corner for a four-yard touchdown. South Whidbey converted its two-point conversion, but still trailed, 44-8, with 3:23 left in the third quarter.
“We came out of the first half not thinking about the score but just playing and winning every single play,” Lobdell said. “We weren’t playing for the scoreboard or for anybody else, just for each other. I think it just gave us motivation to finish strong.”
Antich kept the offense flowing late in the fourth quarter when he rushed the ball for 25 yards to start the Falcons’ series. Following Antich’s rush,
Patterson would connect with Lobdell once again on a deep pass, this time for a 45-yard completion to the Red Wolves’ 2.
Antich rushed in for the two-yard touchdown to make the score 44-14 with :39 seconds left to play.
The Red Wolves ran out the clock on their following possession to win the game.
Antich led the Falcons with nine carries for 124 yards and one touchdown.
Head football coach Michael Coe was pleased to see his team didn’t back down from the challenge of trailing the Red Wolves.
“That’s all you could ask for really, they just kept fighting,” head football coach Michael Coe said. “Our inexperience at key positions really hurts us and I think it showed. It’s the same story pretty much every week. But we did some good things.”