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Mercer Island advances to first round of state | Prep football results
It was a night of firsts.
Twenty three years ago it happened, but then the man now leading the Mercer Island football team was on the field, in uniform.
The Mercer Island football program earned their first playoff win since 1988 when head coach Brett Ogata was a player. The Islanders beat Ferndale 21-14 to secure the team's first ever home playoff win.
"Its feels awesome. I'm just really happy for the kids," said Ogata. "They worked really hard all year and Ferndale is a good team, hats off to them. They stuck it to us a lot tonight, but our kids just persevered and got the win and made big plays."
Quarterback Jeff Lindquist said it was a dream of the seniors when they came into the program to get to this point, and were thrilled to have made it happen.
"We were excited, we didn't want to get overhyped. It was definitely a big game. It's huge for all of us seniors. It was a dream going into the program when we were freshman and now its here," said Lindquist.
The evening at Islander Stadium began with the Golden Eagles containing Mercer Island in four downs. Ferndale picked up on their first possession, controlling the ball and driving downfield. Quarterback Jacob Frost punched through the goal line to score the first points of the night with a 7-0 lead with 6:54 on the clock.
After starting on their own 20 yard line, Mercer Island moved toward their own touchdown, with Jeff Lindquist connecting on passes and running the ball. He crossed the goal line with 4:52 on the clock, but the play was called back due to holding on the Islanders. The team came up short on their next tries, giving Ferndale the ball with 4:01 on the clock in the first.
The first quarter ended with the Golden Eagles leading the game 7-0.
It was a pattern that continued throughout the night with Ferndale running, and Mercer Island passing.
The Islanders out threw Ferndale 202-137 during the game, the Golden Eagles running game kept them in the hunt throughout the game. Ferndale had 212 rushing yards over the Islanders 119.
Part way through the second, Lindquist passed to wide receiver Steen Swedstedt in the endzone, but again was called back by a penalty. This time illegal procedure moved the play back and the Islanders left the end zone without a touchdown.
"As far as the game tonight, they called some holding and stuff that we really haven't had all season. It is what it is. We got the win and I'm excited about that," said Ogata.
After the penalty, senior Brent Tsang found his way through the Ferndale defense to score the Islanders first points of the night. With no flags on the play, the Islanders tied the game 7-7 with 7:43 left in the half.
Ferndale attempted a 14-yard field goal in the last minute of the half, hoping to have the edge at the break, but the kick was no good.
With the ball back in their possession, Lindquist tossed up a 73-yard pass to Nicky Sinclair, pulling the ball down and running into the endzone. The half ended with the Islanders leading 14-7.
After halftime, the teams battled through the third quarter. The scoreboard remained the same as the first half until Ferndale scored with 50 seconds left in the quarter to tied the game at 14 points each.
In the fourth quarter, Connor Bernal gave the Islanders the lead with a catch off a 35-yard pass from Lindquist with 8:03 left in the match. Mercer Island led 21-14.
"I don't know if there was really a momentum change," said the coach. "I thought Ferndale, they were tough all night. We tried to play hard and I think it was a battle. We got one more big play then them to get the win."
Parker Scott on defense helped the Islanders hold onto that lead late in the game, earning seven tackles, while Cameron Ogard had five takes. Both earned interceptions during the game.
The team moves forward to play Meadowdale on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. at Edmonds district Stadium. Meadowdale is 10-0 this season, earning the District 1 No. 1 seed after beating Prairie 33-7 last Friday.