Mercer Island beats Redmond in first game of the season | Prep football

Peter Mahony tries to slip away from Redmond’s defense during the Islanders first home win over the Mustangs on Friday, Aug. 31 - Megan Managan/Mercer Island Reporter
Peter Mahony tries to slip away from Redmond’s defense during the Islanders first home win over the Mustangs on Friday, Aug. 31
— image credit: Megan Managan/Mercer Island Reporter

Mercer Island picked up its first ‘w’ of the season, beating Redmond at home on Friday night 35-20.

The Islanders played a solid first half, getting points on the board quickly, but followed it with a sloppier second half, which head coach Brett Ogata said will have to be fixed before they take on the defending 6A Idaho state champs next weekend.

During the non-conference matchup between the 4A Mustangs and the 3A Islanders, the Islanders started quickly, taking their first drive all the day down the field over six minutes to score the first points of the night. Quarterback Brian Higgins connected on a short pass to Zach Bucklin for six points after the team converted three fourth downs during the drive.

Starting from the 8-yard line at the beginning of the second quarter, Mercer Island edged its way in again, this time off a touchdown run by Higgins, putting the team up 14-0 over Redmond. After stalling the Mustangs next possession with no major gains, the Islanders offense returned to the field, putting up another touchdown, this time a pass from Higgins to senior receiver Steen Swedstedt. With 9:30 left on the clock in the first half, the Islanders were up 21-0.

Unwilling to go to the break without points on the board, Redmond put together a string of first downs, and scored with 7:20 left to go in the first half. The kick was blocked by Mercer Island, putting the score at 21-6.

On their next drive, the Islanders pushed all the way to the red zone, with Higgins running and reaching the third touchdown of the night over the goal line for Mercer Island, giving his team the 28-6 lead at halftime.

On the first Redmond attempt back from the break, junior quarterback Zack Wheat threw his second touchdown of the night, but once again the Islanders blocked the Mustang kick for a 28-12 game.

Senior Risley Lesko earned his first touchdown of the season, running the ball in with 8:06 left in the third quarter to put Mercer Island up 35-12. After Redmond’s short possession, the Islanders faced a slew of flags, slowing their pace. With 1:20 left in the third quarter, the team faced an illegal procedure, then a holding call, followed by another illegal procedure calling, facing the offense with a first and 36 situation. Once things got moving, junior Peter Mahony was able to eat away at the deficit, but not before time ran out in the third quarter.

Redmond bounced back from its own penalty troubles early in the fourth quarter when Wheat threw a long pass to Jackson Keimig to score. On the extra point attempt Wheat connected with Chris Carpenter for the two points.

The final score was 35-20.

Next week Mercer Island will travel to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for a 2 p.m. game on Saturday, Sept. 8. The Vikings are the two time defending 6A state champions, handily winning their first game of the season on Friday night. It’s the first time a Mercer Island football team has traveled to play a game out of state.

Redmond will take on Interlake next Friday in another non-conference game.

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