Timberwolves hand Knights heartbreaking loss | Football

Kamiak sees 33-14 lead slip away in second half
By David Pan | Oct 13, 2016
Photo by: David Pan Kamiak quarterback Matt Merk (6) runs the ball against Jackson during a Wesco 4A game Friday night at Goddard Stadium in Everett.

week after rallying to beat Mount Vernon in the final seconds, Kamiak experienced a gut-wrenching loss Friday night at Goddard Stadium.

Jackson scored 20 unanswered points in the second half to stun the Knights 34-33 in a Wesco 4A South football game.

“It’s a heartbreaking loss,” Kamiak coach Dan Mack said. “We had some opportunities, and we let it slip away from us.”

The bounces, especially in the fourth quarter, didn’t go the Knights’ way. One of Jackson’s three second half touchdowns almost was an interception. A Kamiak defender knocked down the ball, but somehow it popped up into the hands of a Wolfpack receiver.

“We had some unusual things happen,” Mack said.

The Knights (1-3 in the league, 2-4 overall) were fired up for homecoming, but the Timberwolves (2-2, 4-2) also had ample motivation since they were coming off back-to-back losses to Glacier Peak and Lake Stevens.

“We have a pretty good rivalry with Kamiak from over the years,” said senior wide receiver Markus Sullivan, who caught what turned out to the winning touchdown pass. “We’re always fired up to play them. We wanted to get back onto the winning side of things. We’re just trying to get to the playoffs. We just had to get the W.”

Comeback victories are nothing new to the Wolfpack. Jackson rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Edmonds-Woodway and Eisenhower in its first two contests.

“We never gave up,” senior quarterback Jordan Brajcich said. “It really lifts our spirits. I think we’re going to play well the rest of the year.”

Kamiak took a 7-0 lead on a 2-yard touchdown run by sophomore quarterback Matt Merk. Jackson responded about a minute later on a 1-yard run by Daniel Aris.

Knights running back Josh Binda scored on a 25-yard touchdown run before the Wolfpack tied the score at 14 on a 5-yard touchdown run by running back Jonathan Navarro. The Knights took a 21-14 lead into halftime when  Merk threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Raul Zarate.

In the third quarter, Kamiak extended the lead to 27-14 when Merk scored on a 14-yard run. The extra point was missed, though. Merk then found Cole Ebert on a 7-yard scoring strike to give the Knights a 33-14 lead late in the quarter.

“Josh Binda played hard. Matt Merk played hard,” Mack said.

With about a minute left in the third quarter, Brajcich connected with Arias on a 30-yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to 33-21.

Jackson closed to 33-28 on a 7-yard pass from Brajcich to T.J. Barr, a pass that a Kamiak defender deflected but somehow ended up in the hands of the Jackson wide receiver in the end zone with about two minutes left in the game.

The Wolfpack’s seized a 34-33 lead when Brajcich threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Sullivan at the 1:07 mark. Jackson’s 2-point run attempt failed.

Kamiak moved the ball from its own 27 to the Jackson 39 before the drive stalled and time ran out.

“We figured out our pass defense,” said Sullivan, who also started on defense. “We knew that they were going to throw the ball in that position. That helped us a lot. … We held them off.”

Jackson coach Joel Vincent said that his team made some defensive adjustments at halftime that paid off in the second half.

“We started by cinching up the defense,” Vincent said. “We played bad defense in the first half. We went in and we corrected things. We just went back to the basics. They came out and played much better in the second half.”

Merk hurt the Timberwolves with his arm and legs, Vincent noted. “He’s a heck of a runner and he can throw the ball, too. Anytime you’ve got to deal with a dual threat quarterback it makes it really difficult on the defense.”

Vincent was pleased with the play of the Wolfpack offense in the first half. Brajcich and his teammates kept their cool despite falling behind by three scores in the second half.

The schedule doesn’t get any easier for Kamiak, as the Knights face Lake Stevens on the road at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14. The Vikings (4-0, 6-0), tied for first place with Monroe, pounded Glacier Peak 54-3 last week and also defeated Jackson 49-19.

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