The list of teams unable to stop Kannon Katzer was already a lengthy one – and after Friday night’s result, the Peninsula Seahawks are most certainly on that list, too.
Mt. Spokane’s senior running back pounded Peninsula’s defense 39 times for 303 yards and three touchdowns, leading the eighth-seeded Wildcats to a 35-10 victory at Joe Albi Stadium and a spot in the State 3A football quarterfinals next weekend.
“When it keeps on working, there’s nothing else you need to do,” Wildcats junior quarterback Connor Marll said. “You do what you gotta do, and it just kept working.”
Katzer has 33 touchdowns this season.
Marll attempted just five passes, completing three to his teammates and one more to Seahawks safety Chase Coalson, an end-zone interception that ended the Wildcats’ first drive.
But getting deep into Seahawks territory was rarely a problem for the Wildcats (9-2), who will play top-seeded O’Dea (10-0) next weekend.
“Our identity right now is to run the football,” Mt. Spokane coach Terry Cloer said, “and until they stop us, we’re gonna keep doing it.”
The Wildcats chewed up nearly 9 minutes on a 14-play, 47-yard drive that stretched a 21-3 halftime lead into a 28-3 advantage early in the fourth quarter. That drive was made all the longer by four penalties assessed against Mt. Spokane for 44 yards.
But functionally that just meant more yards for Katzer, who ended the drive with his third touchdown of the game.
Peninsula closed the gap to 28-10 on a 6-yard touchdown run from Sean Skladany with 5:35 left in the fourth quarter. The Seahawks (8-3) recovered an onside kick afterward.
But a few plays later, Jake Griffiths picked off Peyton Bice’s throw at the 5-yard line, the senior safety’s second interception of the night.
Senior Jaymon Funk scored the game’s final touchdown from 5 yards out after another long run by Katzer.
“If you get too comfortable, teams can come back, and Peninsula is a great team,” Griffiths said. “We can’t sleep on them because then they’ll come back, and they almost did.”
Bice finished with 211 yards on 21 of 35 attempts. Skladany led the Seahawks with 53 yards on 19 carries.
Peninsula took an early 3-0 lead, but it lasted just 22 seconds.
After the field goal, Katzer returned the kickoff 92 yards to the Seahawks’ 3-yard line and scored a touchdown on the next play to give the Wildcats a 7-3 lead with 2 minutes left in the first quarter.
The Seahawks stalled on their next drive, and the Wildcats answered with another run-heavy advance, culminating in Katzer’s second touchdown to make it 14-3.
After Peninsula achieved a first down on its next drive, Bice pump-faked and looked deep down the right sideline. But Griffiths wasn’t fooled and stayed in bounds along the sidelines while reeling in his first interception.
With 3 minutes, 10 seconds left in the half, the Wildcats took over and again pounded the run, but then mixed in a couple of completions. On the drive’s final play, Katzer took a shotgun snap and pitched the ball to a crossing Marll, who lofted a 19-yard touchdown pass to Tommy Madill. That gave the Wildcats a 21-3 lead they carried into halftime.
“It’s not just a straight set,” Marll said of the wildcat formation. “So we go to it and we can run with Katzer, we can look to run with Madill and even throw out of it too, so it’s a very powerful offense.”
Now the Wildcats will take that offense to O’Dea, which held Kelso to 40 yards of offense in a 35-0 opening-round victory.
“You always want a shot at the best,” Cloer said, “and we got our shot now.”
Deer Park 22, Zillah 20: Mathew Jorgensen scored on an 83-yard run in the fourth quarter, lifting the Stags (10-0) over the visiting Leopards (8-3). Jorgensen finished with 171 yards on 23 carries and Bennett Lim added 77 rushing yards and two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) for Deer Park.
Sixth-seeded Deer Park moves to the quarterfinals, where it will play the winner of Saturday’s game between Meridian and Montesano next weekend.
Chewelah 36, Tonasket 7: The Cougars (7-4) scored in every quarter en route to a victory over the visiting Tigers (7-3).
Fourth-seeded Chewelah advances to the quarterfinals and will play the winner of Saturday’s first-round game between Adna and Davenport.
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