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Falcons knock off Gonzaga Prep to Advance to State Semifinal

  • Written by Derek Johnson

Miles Mustarde remembers that frigid day in Spokane. The senior linebacker was a freshman back then. Woodinville played Gonzaga Prep in the 4A State quarterfinals in 2015. He remembers Gonzaga’s towering arrogance and the one-sided officiating that bordered on criminal. The bad taste of that bitter defeat lingered. 

But after beating Gonzaga Prep last Saturday night, Mustarde felt marvelous.   

“Having them come over here and getting revenge feels great,” he said. 

football1Right tackle Will Augustine (#64) leads the way for quarterback Noah Stifle. (Photo by Dale Garvey)

So it was on a beautiful evening at Pop Keeney Stadium. Woodinville’s Nolan Downs rushed for 141 yards and three touchdowns, as the Falcons beat the Gonzaga Prep Bullpups 45-24 in the State Quarterfinal matchup. With the win, Woodinville improved to 11-1 and advanced to the State semifinal.

The Falcons racked up a 24-7 halftime lead built on a dynamic offense and an opportunistic defense. Woodinville stopped Gonzaga twice on fourth down in the first half. Gonzaga also had a field goal attempt clang against an upright.

The Bullpups came out red hot in the third quarter, scoring a touchdown in the first minute. But Woodinville quickly struck back on a 2-yard run by Carter Smith. From that point, the Falcons matched Gonzaga’s scoring and kept the Bullpups at arm’s length until time ran out.

That special brand Gonzaga Prep arrogance was on full display. The Bullpups yapped at Woodinville all game long. They even threw in a couple of cheap shots, including when Darius Johnson ripped the helmet off of Woodinville’s Nolan Downs – while Downs was laying on the ground.

Woodinville tackle Will Augustine was puzzled by the behavior.

“They were really chippy,” Augustine said. “Our team did a good job handling that and not fighting back. We talked with our pads. I had never seen that type of thing before. They were walking around like they owned the place. It was kind of weird. I don’t know why they did it, but they did it a lot.”

football2Woodinville players celebrate with head coach Wayne Maxwell in the post game aftermath. (Photo by Derek Johnson)

The Falcons, however, were also quick to credit the visitors from Spokane.

“They were very physical,” Woodinville’s Carter Smith said. “Definitely one of the top ones we’ve played against.”

“They had a really good physical O-line,” Mustarde said. “And their running back [Eric Floyd] was the most downhill running back I’ve ever seen.”

Gonzaga, masters of the triple option, amassed 288 yards rushing.

Woodinville suffered two injuries. Senior receiver Camden Pilukas injured his knee while hauling in a 31-yard reception. Running back Joey Johnson was on crutches after the game from an ankle injury. The official status of both players is unknown at this time. 

The silver lining in that gray injury cloud came from Drew Lozano. The junior running back hadn’t played any pressure-filled minutes this year. But he stepped in for Johnson and held onto the ball – while rushing 7 times for 18 yards.
In the post game locker room, Miles Mustarde unraveled tape from his forearm as a reporter asked a question: If someone told him back in August that his team would be 11-1 and headed for the State semifinals, what would have he said?
“I would say I was doubtful,” Mustarde said. “Just because we had such a new team, with so many guys that [graduated] last year. But the coaches and players have done their jobs and we have a good chemistry., All those factors have worked well for us.”

Woodinville will play Lake Stevens this Saturday at Pop Keeney Stadium at 5:30pm.  The winner will advance to the State Championship game at the Tacoma Dome.

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