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WHS Football: Falcon ground game dominates in win over Palmer of Alaska

  • Written by Derek Johnson, Sports Writer

Alaska GamePhoto by Deb Stemmerman. Woodinville running back Wyatt Smith (#4) gains some of his 164 yards rushing, during the big Falcon victory in the season opener vs. Palmer.Pete Carroll’s best coaching years at USC featured the tailback duo known as "Thunder and Lightning" – LenDale White and Reggie Bush. In Woodinville’s season opener in Alaska last Friday night, Falcon running backs Alek Kacmarcik and Wyatt Smith did their best impressions of the former Trojan tandem.

Kacmarcik, the deceptively fast battering ram, and Smith, the juking water bug with breakaway speed, combined for 350 yards rushing, as Woodinville pummeled Palmer, 42-7.

"We scouted them. We knew what was going on, we just weren’t able to stop it," Palmer head coach Rod Christiansen said to the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman. "They have real good speed, real good running backs, but we’re better than that."

"We had a solid game plan coming in so we knew what we were going to be up against," Woodinville’s Kacmarcik said. "But as the game progressed we started figuring out what was working and started to attack the edges with our run game. The pass game supplemented the running attack nicely as well."

Playing football in the state of Alaska for the first time, Woodinville set the tone with its opening drive. Quarterback Will Jack connected with Tommy Wick for a 35-yard gain. Moments later, Jack took the shotgun snap and rolled left before firing a scoring strike to Chad Zaback for the 7-0 lead.

After forcing a Palmer punt, Woodinville resumed possession and soon faced a 3rd-and-27 from its own 12 yard line. But Wyatt Smith zipped through the Moose defense for 24 yards, and the first down was picked up with the extra yardage from a penalty. At this drive’s end, Wyatt plunged across the goal line for a 1-yard run, extending the Falcon lead to 14-0.

Palmer stayed briefly within shouting distance after recovering a Woodinville fumble at the Falcon 12 yard line and scored two plays later to make it 14-7. From the Palmer grandstands, cheers rang out and a cowbell clanged mightily in the gloaming, as a glimmer of hope remained for the home team.

But Woodinville quickly extinguished that hope, as Wyatt Smith broke loose for an electrifying 55-yard touchdown run.  "It was a counter to the right side," Smith said. "The back side backer got some penetration but I was able to make him miss with a spin move. And with great downfield blocking by our line and receiving corps, I was able to break away and head off to the races."

In the second half, Kacmarcik had his own long scoring run, registering a 45-yard gallop to make the score 35-7.

"It was an outside zone play to the right," Kacmarcik said, "And I got the ball with my head on my inside shoulder looking for a hole when I saw a cutback lane. As soon as I saw the cutback I hit the hole and it was off to the races from there. The line did an awesome job up front blocking and sealing up Palmer’s linebackers and d-line."

As the game clock hit 0:00, the scoreboard read: Woodinville 42, Palmer 7. The Falcons had outgained the Moose 518-134. Palmer running back Vincent Aumavae led the way for the home team, with 42 yards on 13 carries.

Woodinville’s domination was complete.

"We have three goals for the identity of our team," Woodinville head coach Wayne Maxwell said after the game to the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman. "We want to be the most physical team in the state in all three phases of the game, we want to be the most intense team in the state in terms of just working hard and playing hard, and we want to compete at everything we do. If you have that mindset, it blends that style of football."

Woodinville next hosts Mariner on Friday Sept 13th and Pop Keeney Stadium.

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