Huge offensive plays, pick six leads to win in state playoff thriller

Lake Stevens beats Curtis 56-42 in back-and-forth affair

Payne Patchett, Sports Reporter

For the last few years, the Lake Stevens Vikings football teams’ hopes of achieving their number one goal of a state championship have been shrouded in debate by high school football analysts and writers due to their strength of schedule and performance throughout the season.

Well, tonight, the third-ranked Vikings prepared to prove them wrong as they won a heated offensive matchup with the fourteenth-ranked Curtis Vikings in the first round of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) 4A State tournament at Lake Stevens High School that ended with 98 total points and over 1,000 total yards of total offense from both teams.

After Curtis strikes first with a touchdown, senior quarterback Tre Long tosses a screen pass to senior wide receiver Ian Hanson, who raced past multiple defenders for a 46-yard touchdown (TD) pass to tie the game at 7 and the first quarter ended with a 14-7 Curtis lead after another score.

Lake Stevens started the scoring in the second quarter with a 10-yard TD run up the middle by senior Tom Lewis to cap off a 6-play, 92-yard drive to tie the game once more and after another Curtis score, the Vikings pull of another long drive, highlighted by a 45-yard pass play from Long to junior Kasen Kinchen, that ended with a 21-yard TD run by Long to tie the game up at 21 at halftime.

As Lake Stevens started with the ball in the second half, they saw an all-too-familiar scene as, on the first play of the second half, Lewis went down with, what was later revealed to be, a broken shin on his right leg that effectively ended his high school career. But amidst all the sorrow and pain through the loss of a serious asset to the team’s success, instead of looking back at the past, they looked towards the future, as the Vikings took the lead for the first time tonight as Long throws a long pass to freshman Drew Carter, who was wide open and evades the lone defender capable of taking him down for a 56-yard score to make it 28-21.

After Curtis, once again, ties the game, Lake Stevens caps off an 8-play, 80-yard drive with another touchdown run by Long, who took it in from 3 yards out, to make it 35-28, but after Curtis ties it up once again, things get interesting.  

On Lake Stevens’ next drive, junior Dallas Landeros, who filled in after Lewis went down, scored from 13 yards out to make it 35-28, but this time, when Curtis got the ball back, quarterback Kyle Russell under throws a screen pass, which is caught by senior Isaiah Harris, who makes the fans go wild with a 42-yard scamper to the other end to make it a two-possession game with 9:21 left in the game.

Curtis would punt the ball on their next drive, the first since the second quarter, and Lake Stevens would later add salt to the wound with a 66-yard TD pass from Long to Kinchen to put the nail in the coffin on Curtis and will play in the quarterfinals for the first time in two years with a 56-42 final score.

Just like last year, Long excelled under the spotlight of the state playoffs, completing 14 of 15 passes for 345 yards and 3 touchdowns while also running the ball 8 times for 80 yards and 2 more scores. Landeros also helped with the rushing effort after Lewis went down, running the ball 21 times for 146 yards and a touchdown.

Kinchen lead the game in receiving with 3 catches for 151 yards and a touchdown while Hanson also contributed to the effort with 8 catches with 121 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Next week, Lake Stevens will play the sixth seeded Graham Kapowsin Eagles at Lake Stevens High School in the state quarterfinals on saturday, November 17th.