The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes the word juggernaut as “a massive, inexorable force that crushes whatever is in its path.” Webster’s might as well include a picture of the Woodinville football team in its next edition. There’s no other way to describe them after last Saturday night at Pop Keeney Stadium. Woodinville beat Kentwood 48-7 to advance to the State quarterfinals for the third year in a row.
“We had a slow start last week [vs. Olympia],” Woodinville linebacker Miles Mustarde said. “So the big emphasis this week was to come out strong and fast. We had the intention to just bring it offensively and defensively... We felt we were extremely prepared. I’m not surprised by the outcome.”
Woodinville (11-0) did get off to a fast start, scoring touchdowns on each of its first four possessions. The Falcons led 28-0 at the end of the first quarter. Part of the reason was the defense and Noah Taplett, who picked off two early passes from quarterback Justin Seiber. Of note, Seiber had only thrown four interceptions all season.
“It’s crazy,” Taplett said. “Our whole defensive group was locked down and doing their jobs.”
But the Falcon offense also came out with nasty intentions. The Jaden Sheffey-to-Nash Fouch connection was on fire. The running game moved the sticks and the offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage.
“We just had a really good flow,” left tackle Cade Beresford said. “We definitely picked it up and started off well. We ran the ball a lot tonight. Jaden was making good throws, receivers were making catches. The O-line played good. Kenny [Kim], Will [Augustine], Nick [Hastings], Saeed [Haddad], we all had good games tonight.”
But the sparkling centerpiece was quarterback Jaden Sheffey. The senior completed 25-of-28 passes for 214 yards and 3 touchdowns. While he’s never lacked for confidence, Sheffey seemed to take his game to a new level Saturday night. Dropping back into the pocket, he evoked an aura of supreme self-assuredness.
“He’s exactly the kid you want running our offense and being a leader for our program,” Woodinville coach Wayne Maxwell said.
As for Nash Fouch, the senior receiver hauled in 9 catches for 90 yards and two touchdowns.
“We thought [Kentwood] would give him a little more help,” Maxwell said. “But he had more opportunities by himself [in single coverage], and he made them pay.”
Defensively for the Falcons, Quinn Schreyer and Dylan Lewis each recorded quarterback sacks. Meanwhile, linebacker Andy Lau continued his comeback from injury by registering three tackles.
So what’s next for the Falcons? They’re entering the State quarterfinals for the third straight season. Two years ago, Woodinville lost to Gonzaga Prep (and some poor officiating) on a frigid day in Spokane. Last year, the Falcons fell to a superior Sumner team.
This Saturday, Woodinville plays Graham-Kapowsin (10-1) in the State quarterfinals.