Tomahawk football blanks Vikings, improves to 6-0

Senior running back Caleb Posey, left, goes for a block, clearing the way for teammate Ryan Sterley to help the Tomahawks gain a key fourth-down conversion. -
Senior running back Caleb Posey, left, goes for a block, clearing the way for teammate Ryan Sterley to help the Tomahawks gain a key fourth-down conversion.
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Denton tops 1,000 yards rushing at Lake Stevens

Last year, when the Tomahawks defeated Lake Stevens in a come-from-behind homecoming victory at Quil Ceda Stadium, it boosted the morale of a team still forming a new identity under a new coach.

This year, as the teams tangled down the road at the Vikings’ stadium, league supremacy was on the line.

And just as last year’s win buoyed the spirits of a rebuilding team, the Tomahawks’ dominating 28-0 defeat of Lake Stevens Oct. 10 — previously, the only other school unbeaten in conference play — could become the point at which a district-caliber team became a state-caliber team.

“It’s unbelievable,” said M-P coach Brandon Carson, trying to describe how the team felt after the shutout.

M-P was held to three and out on their first drive and forced to punt. But it was the only drive they would punt. Senior running back Ryan Sterley put Marysville on the board in the first quarter with a scoring run.

Later, in the second quarter, a bad pass intended for Sterley resulted in a Tomahawk turnover, giving Lake Stevens the ball at their own 10-yard line. The Viking drive wouldn’t last however, as their own fumble resulted in a Tomahawk ball only 25 yards back from the first turnover. A five-yard carry by Sterley helped the Tomahawks keep the drive alive on fourth down, setting up an 11-yard pass from quarterback Devin Peterson to tight end Jarrett Finau to go up 14-0.

A failed Lake Stevens field goal with 10 seconds left ensured the Tomahawks a two-touchdown lead at halftime.

About 75 seconds into the second half, the Tomahawks recovered another Lake Stevens fumble, setting up a four-yard touchdown run for junior running back Austin Denton four minutes later.

While the M-P defense made Lake Stevens pay for their mistakes, they also proved capable of holding the line when they needed to, stopping a four-minute, 50-yard drive by the Vikings to pick up a turnover on downs late in the third quarter. Starting at the Tomahawk 18-yard line, M-P stuck to their running game, though mixing it up a little with some quarterback keepers by Peterson. With the fourth quarter almost half over, Caleb Posey became the third Tomahawk running back to score against Lake Stevens, earning a touchdown from 13 yards out to put M-P up 28-0.

As time ran down, Lake Stevens was still looking for an opportunity to avoid the shutout. But on a long pass with 26 seconds left in the game, it was Tomahawk defensive back Mark Pangilinan who intercepted Viking quarterback Nick Baker’s pass, returning the ball 70 yards to the Lake Stevens 10-yard line.

Rather than go for a fifth score, Peterson took a knee. There were more than enough points for M-P as the Tomahawks improved to 6-0.

And with 176 yards rushing on the night and 1,073 for the season so far, Denton became the eighth Tomahawk football player in school history to rush for more than 1,000 yards. With three games left in the season, Denton enters the list at No. 6, ahead of Ken Kam (1,049 yards, 2003) and Shane Pahukoa (1,068 yards, 1988).

What the Tomahawks proved to themselves on the field, the state coaches poll showed they knew earlier in the week as M-P entered the state football poll at No. 10.

Carson attributed his team’s success to a great team dynamic.

“I think we have an excellent group of senior leaders,” he said. “They’re as happy for each other as for themselves.”

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