Grizzlies' defense dominates Wilson to advance to state
Glacier Peak intercepts six passes, recovers three fumbles to win state berth
With his defense playing as relentless as Glacier Peak coach Rory Rosenbach had ever seen it play, the Grizzlies never gave Wilson a chance. They intercepted six passes and forced and recovered three fumbles in Glacier Peak's 28-3 humbling of the Rams Friday night in a 3A Quad-District football game at Snohomish Veterans Memorial Stadium. The victory clinched a berth in the first round of the state tournament.
"I've never seen that before. That's crazy. I've never seen nine turnovers in a game," Rosenbach said. "I've never seen six picks in a game. And three fumbles.
"Our defense has been good all year long and they were lights out tonight."
Two Wilson quarterbacks combined to complete just six of 18 passes for 55 yards. The Rams had the same number of passes caught by Glacier Peak defenders as they did by their own receivers.
One interception, by Grizzlies defensive back Kaianoa Wong, was returned for a touchdown. After getting burned on a similar play earlier in the game, Wong read the offense and intercepted Wilson's Alex Koshman -- who threw two consecutive interceptions -- and returned it 11 yards for a score.
"I saw it earlier and I was about to make a tackle on it but I missed, so I was like, 'I've got to redeem myself,'" Wong said.
The Rams had five turnovers in the first half -- four interceptions and one fumble on a punt return -- and forced their first turnover on the Grizzlies' opening drive of the second half. The Glacier Peak offense charged down the field until the drive briefly stalled with a fumble on the Wilson 27-yard line.
The Grizzlies got the ball right back on the ensuing play when the Rams fumbled anad Glacier Peak recovered, taking over on the Wilson 29. The Grizzlies capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run by Branson Corwin.
Matthew Darling added a two-yard touchdown run with 8:27 to go in the game for the Grizzlies.
"We really thought we could run at them and be able to throw a little bit on the edge," Rosenbach said. "We had a few mistakes and turnovers. The defense kept getting the ball back for us and giving us opportunities."
Matthew Darling had 17 carries for 42 yards and a touchdown for Glacier Peak and freshman Colton Bunt had 54 yards on 10 carries in his first varsity action. Bunt was brought up for the game in part because of his strong season on junior varsity and in part because of injuries to Glacier Peak.
"He had a great year," Rosenbach said. "We had some guys dinged. We really only had three healthy running backs and thought we could give the kid a shot."
Injuries also piled on with starting quarterback Brady Southard missing some time with an injured leg. He came back into the game when his replacement, Corwin, was injured when he was tackled out of bounds on a fourth down throw.
Corwin returned to the game, as did Darling, who was also looked at by the Glacier Peak training staff in the first quarter.
"It's that time of year. Guys are already dinged up," Rosenbach said. "You come into the game, put a Band-Aid on them and see if you can get through the week."
Southard got the start at quarterback after a good week of practice and completed three of 12 passes for 52 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown pass to Austin Hines in the first quarter. Corwin led the Glacier Peak offense coming out of halftime and finished 5-for-13 for 73 yards and had six carries for 38 yards and a touchdown.
"Southard earned it in practice. He had a great week of practice and they knew (what was at stake)," Rosenbach said. "I said, 'Hey I've got to go with who's getting it done.' We felt like, at halftime, that what we wanted to do in the second half Corwin would be able to do with his running ability."
The win means Glacier Peak (8-2 overall) advances to the first round of the state tournament where the Grizzlies will get a tough draw in Bellevue, which has been the No. 1 team in the 3A Associated Press poll all season. The Wolverines have won 50 consecutive games and are perennial state champions.
Bellevue has become a familiar opponent for Glacier Peak. This will be the third time in six years the two teams have met in the playoffs. After the game, Rosenbach was firing his team up and encouraging all the Glacier Peak fans to get ready to travel to Bellevue.
"They're a great football team. What a great opportunity," Rosenbach said. "Somebody's going to beat them. Why not us?"
At Snohomish Veterans Memorial Stadium
Wilson 0 3 0 0 -- 3
Glacier Peak 7 7 7 7 -- 28
GP–Austin Hines 20 pass from Brady Southard (Spencer Pettit kick)
W–Alex Montonaga 24 FG
GP–Kaianoa Wong 11 interception return (Pettit kick)
GP–Branson Corwin 1 run (Pettit kick)
GP–Matthew Darling 2 run (Pettit kick)
Records–Wilson 6-4 overall. Glacier Peak 8-2.
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