The night began with Darth Vader emerging from billowing clouds of smoke to lead Woodin-ville and its “Dark Side Defense” onto the field. The night ended with joyous players hoisting the Kingco Championship trophy as they celebrated with cheering fans.
Such were the spoils of Woodinville’s 44-14 win over North Creek last Saturday night at Pop Keeney Stadium. The Falcons (9-0) captured the Kingco 4A title for the second year in a row.
“The atmosphere here is amazing and our fans are too,” senior Dylan Usoro said. “And this team is amazing. I wouldn’t want to be on any other team. I love them all.”
Truth be told, it was a game that never should have been played. The North Creek Jaguars (0-8 in Kingco 4A), completed their first year in existence. They entered this game at an enormous disadvantage. With no senior class and only 31 players, North Creek made a mistake deciding to play this season at the 4A level. Concerns for player safety notwithstanding, the undersized Jags would’ve been much more competitive at the 2A or 3A classifications. Their kids would have had a better experience.
Nevertheless, this one was over quick. Fifty-three seconds into the game, Woodinville’s Jaden Sheffey found Noah Stifle for a 21-yard TD pass. Next series, Sheffey hit Nash Fouch for a 24-yard strike. Then Noah Taplett and Miles Mustarde each returned interceptions for touchdowns. Nash Fouch then returned a punt 40 yards to pay dirt. Then the Falcons blocked a punt for a safety.
Just three minutes into the second quarter, Woodinville led 37-0. Falcon coach Wayne Maxwell pulled his starters and emptied his bench. Woodinville led 44-0 at halftime.
“It is what it is,” Maxwell said. “You get up early like that, and it was a chance to get the young guys in. Good experience for them being under the Friday night lights. Where the atmosphere is a bit more intense than it is in a JV game.”
One fun moment was seeing senior wide receiver Dylan Usoro run a jet sweep around left end for 17 yards.
“I told coach (Mike Pluschke) in practice that I wanted to run the jet sweep,” Usoro said. “He wanted to utilize my speed, because he knows that I’m a fast runner. And there was great blocking by our guys too.”
When the game ended, parents and siblings swarmed onto the field to pose for pics and celebrate Senior Night.
“Our chemistry is like off the charts,” senior Wyatt Lane said. “This group of guys has been with each other since day one of freshmen football.”
Senior captain Jaden Sheffey had a nice moment with his family on the field.
“It has gone by so fast, my high school career,” Sheffey said. “I’ve loved every minute of it. It has been a long four years, a lot of ups and downs. I’m just glad my family was able to be here tonight.”
Asked what he meant by ups and downs, Sheffey referred to his decision two years ago to transfer from Cedar Park Christian to Woodinville.
“Coming from a school that was very small, and transferring here, I had a lot of people tell me that I wouldn’t do so well jumping up to this level,” Sheffey said. “There was a lot of that. Not people from my team of course, but people on the outside. And also the grinds of the season. Every season isn’t perfect. To fight through the adversity is awesome.
“But the first day I was here I felt really welcome,” Sheffey said. “I knew that if I worked hard I would be able to play at this level. I was confident about that. And my parents and family encouraged me, and this team and coaching staff encouraged me. And along with confidence, there was a lot of support from this community. So for all of it, I’m grateful.”
Woodinville begins post season play this Saturday vs. Olympia at Pop Keeney Stadium.