Wildcats tame league rivals Cougars, Tigers | Football

By David Pan | Oct 19, 2018

Archbishop Murphy is growing up.

The young Wildcats posted two key victories in the last two weeks, rallying for a 36-35 win over Lakewood and then beating Burlington-Edison 27-13 on the road in Northwest Conference 2A Sky Division football action.

“They’re coming along. We’re starting to mature,” Archbishop Murphy coach Jerry Jensen said. “We were able to stay healthy for a couple of weeks, which is a big factor.”

Junior running back Mason Mathis rushed for 157 yards on 37 carries and scored one touchdown against the Tigers Friday, Oct. 12, at Burlington-Edison High School.

“I think Mason Mathis has really grown into a running back,” Jensen said. “The young line is matured. The defense played really well. I think we matched up well with them along the front line. Mason ran the ball really well. The coaches did a good job of game planning.”

The Wildcats (2-1 in the league, 3-2 overall) allowed only one touchdown through three quarters when Burlington-Edison scored late in the fourth quarter on a 65-yard touchdown pass from Isaac Lindsey to Jake Fleury.

“We need to make sure we’re focused for four quarters,” Jensen said.

Mathis scored on a 3-yard run to give Archbishop Murphy a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. The Tigers responded with an 8-yard TD run by Fleury to cut the lead to 7-6 in the second quarter.

Junior quarterback Victor Gabalis ran for a 1-yard touchdown later in the period and Archbishop Murphy took a 14-6 lead into halftime.

Zion Robinson then returned a fumble 13 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter and Gabalis threw a 2-yard scoring pass to Josh McCarron in the fourth quarter.

The Wildcat defense forced two fumbles. The Archbishop Murphy offense was only 2 of 14 on third down attempts but was 5 of 5 on fourth down attempts.

Archbishop Murphy came into last Friday’s contest feeling upbeat after rallying to defeat Lakewood in the fourth quarter a week earlier.

Gabalis threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Tyrell Waverly in the final minute of the game and then ran for a 2-point conversion to lead the Wildcats to the victory.

Jensen said he wanted to ride the momentum of the final drive instead of attempting the extra point.

“It was a home game. We’ve got the momentum,” Jensen said. “I figured we’d roll with it.”

The Cougars led 21-7 at halftime with Mathias running 5 yards for Archbishop Murphy’s lone touchdown. Gabalis found Waverly on a 17-yard scoring strike in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 21-14.

The two teams then trades touchdowns as Lakewood’s Jared Taylor found Justice Taylor on a 14-yard touchdown pass and Gabalis threw a 19-yard touchdown to Walter Hines as the Wildcats headed into the fourth quarter trailing 28-20.

Archbishop Murphy tied the game at 28 on a 21-yard TD pass from Gabalis to Waverly and a successful run by Gabalis on the 2-point conversion attempt.

Lakewood (0-3, 4-3) again took the lead on a 2-yard TD run by Jared Taylor.

Gabalis completed 16 of 21 passes for 234 yards and four touchdowns and Mathis ran for 76 yards on 19 carries with one touchdowns. The Cougars outgained the Wildcats 469 to 319.

“I think the boys gained some confidence,” Jensen said of the hard-fought win. “They know that they can do it. (Gabalis) really played well in the second half. We’ve got to get him playing at that level. He’s continuing that growth.”

Archbishop Murphy hosts Sedro-Woolley (1-2, 3-4) in the regular season finale at 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 19, at Terry Ennis Stadium. The Cubs fell 55-21 to Lynden.

“They’re a tough physical football team,” Jensen said. “We’ve got to try and establish the run and spread the field to make them cover the whole field.”

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