A piece of the North Sound Conference football crown is on the line when South Whidbey plays at King’s in the regular-season finale 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1.
The Falcons eliminated Granite Falls from title contention by beating the Tigers 42-14 in the last home game Friday, Oct. 25.
South Whidbey (2-1, 6-2), King’s (2-1, 3-5) and Cedar Park Christian (2-1, 6-2) are all tied for first heading into Friday’s final league game. Cedar Park Christian hosts last-place Sultan (0-3, 1-7).
South Whidbey coach Mark Hodson said his players are excited about the King’s showdown. None of the Falcons have beaten the Knights during their high school careers.
Granite Falls (2-2, 3-5) was knocked out the race for the title with the loss to the Falcons; it was also the Tigers’ final conference game. The top three teams in the league advance to the playoffs, and Granite Falls can tie King’s for third if South Whidbey beats the Knights. Granite Falls defeated King’s earlier this season and owns the tie-breaker.
South Whidbey 42, Granite Falls 14
The Falcons “punched them in the mouth” early, according to Hodson.
South Whidbey stunned the Tigers with an 88-yard touchdown pass from Kole Nelson to Brady Hezel, then tacked on a 25-yard TD run by Nelson to go up 14-0 in the first quarter and 21-0 at halftime.
South Whidbey struck again from long distance after the break on an 84-yard Billy Rankin run.
The Falcons “made some mistakes” in the third quarter, according to Hodson, and the Tigers scored twice to make it 28-14.
South Whidbey pulled away with two fourth-quarter scores on another scoring run by Rankin and a 50-yard jaunt by Bodie Hezel.
Nelson finished with 148 yards passing, hitting seven of 10 throws, and 53 yards rushing.
Bodie Hezel ran for 151 yards and Rankin had 145.
South Whidbey was not only sharp on offense; its “defense was absolutely spectacular,” Hodson said.
Falcon defensive coordinator Andy Davis had captain Kobe Balora call one of four defensive fronts depending on Granite Falls’ offensive shifts.
“Kobe had our kids ready every play; we were not out of position once,” Hodson said.
“He had the best game of his career.”
Defensive backs Bodie Hezel, Alex Black, Ryan Morgan and Kaidyn Brfinks all helped shut down one of the conference’s best receivers, according to Hodson.
Hodson also noted the Jakob Snelling lived a lineman’s dream, returning an interception 60 yards for a touchdown. The dream was dashed by a penalty for a late hit on the Tiger quarterback but helped ignite the Falcons in the second half.