South Whidbey football broke a streak of five consecutive homecoming night losses, while also continuing a two-month-long winning streak with a 27-17 victory over Concrete on Oct. 20.
South Whidbey running backs Hunter Ewart and Clay O’Brien, who both aided in the victory with rushing touchdowns in the third quarter, couldn’t have been more thrilled following the final buzzer. The players agreed Concrete was their toughest opponent of the year and were glad to have beat them.
“I’m just so happy,” Ewart, a senior, said. “We wanted it more than them, that’s why we got it.”
“Same, I’m just happy,” added O’Brien, a junior.
South Whidbey (6-2 overall) hasn’t lost since 13-6 defeat to Chimacum on Sept. 7. Concrete, previously ranked tenth in class 2B, dropped to 6-2 overall.
The Falcons weathered poor conditions in the victory as a steady rainfall poured on them throughout the night. The rain kept the Falcons’ offense reliant on their rushing attack for the most part. O’Brien said the conditions helped make for a more dramatic atmosphere.
“I just love the rain,” O’Brien said. “To me, it just adds a dramatic effect.”
O’Brien and Ewart credited the offensive line for being a dominant force and for helping open gaps for the running backs. Senior offensive lineman Cameron Middlebrook spoke for the rest of the line when he said they did “really well” in blocking Concrete’s defensive linemen and giving the running backs a chance to exploit gaps in the defense.
He said it was a team effort overall.
“It just shows how we’re a family and how everyone needs to do what they gotta do to win,” Middlebrook said.
Junior Caden Spear scored the Falcons’ first touchdown of the night with a 30-yard run in the first quarter. Concrete responded with a passing touchdown the following drive.
Tied 7-7 with five minutes left in the second quarter, junior quarterback Kody Newman rolled out of the pocket to find junior tight end Alex Turner open in the end zone.
The Falcons held on to their 14-7 lead through halftime and eight minutes into the third quarter until O’Brien plunged in for a five-yard touchdown. Concrete fumbled the ensuing kickoff return and it was recovered by sophomore defensive linemen Kobe Balora. Ewart capitalized on the turnover when he broke several tackles on his way to a 16-yard touchdown with 3:15 remaining in the quarter.
South Whidbey’s defense also proved to be a strong asset down the stretch when it stuffed the Lions’ attempts at a comeback. It was largely successful, but the Lions managed to exploit an opening in the Falcon defensive secondary with a 20-yard passing touchdown with four minutes left in the fourth quarter.
But the damage was already done. Ewart secured the Falcons’ victory when he disrupted a trick play attempt by the Lions with only seconds left in the game.
“They were just as good as I thought they we’re going to be,” Ewart said. “I knew it was going to be a grind the whole game. It was a battle.”
The Falcons host Liberty Bell in their final regular season game at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27.