The Juanita Rebels football team earned their second win of the KingCo season, beating Mercer Island on Friday night in a 41-29 game.
Mercer Island jumped out to the early lead after several penalty flags on both sides of the ball. Junior Chris Richards ran the ball in to the end zone, the extra two points were good, and Mercer Island led 8-0 with 9:39 left in the first quarter.
With 3:02 left in the first, Juanita quarterback Tavin Montgomery passed to Kendrick Murphy for a touchdown, trailing 8-7 to the Islanders.
Juanita regained possession in the second quarter with less than seven minutes on the clock. Montgomery ended the drive with a touchdown with 4:35 left in the half, giving the Rebels a 14-8 lead. Juanita maintained the lead, and the game’s momentum at half time with the 14-8 score.
After the break, Juanita quickly scored when Trayon McNairy scored off a long run over the goal line with 11:18 in the third quarter. The kick was good and Juanita led 21-8.
On Mercer Island’s next drive, the ball was intercepted by Juanita at the 34 yard line, but the Rebels failed to convert to points, as would the Islanders on their next turn with the ball. After regaining the ball, Mercer Island quarterback Brian Higgins fumbled the ball, and Juanita returned it to the 15-yard line with 6:19 left in the third. The Rebels attempted a 17-yard field goal, but the ball went wide.
Juanita’s defense continued to stymie the Islanders offense, keeping Mercer Island from gaining new points.
With 2:18 left in the third, Juanita ran the ball into the end zone, scoring the third unanswered points of the game. The score was 28-8.
On the next drive, Mercer Island surged, scoring with just nine seconds left in the third quarter. The score was 28-15. The Islanders continued to fight on defense and offense, battling their way to every first down.
The Islanders closed the gap even more, when Higgins scored with 10:02 left in the game to cut the lead to 28-22. But on the kickoff return, Juanita’s Cody Otterholt returned the ball for a touchdown. The score was 34-22. After a quick return by Mercer Island, Matt Orehek scored with 8:26 left in the game, making it 34-29.
Juanita closed the door on the game with just 26 seconds on the clock, as Montgomery pushed his way to score the final points of the night.
Mercer Island had 388 yards during the game, while the Rebels posted 479 overall, 339 which came from rushing and 140 from passing. The Islanders continued to show strong passing skills, hitting 327 yards from the throw, with just 61 from rushing. Both teams dealt with a high number of penalties, with Mercer Island giving up 80 yards to the nine flags, while Juanita had 10 penalties for a loss of 86 yards. Both teams also gave up four fumbles, the highest for the Islanders in a game since 2009.
The Islanders are 3-1 in KingCo this season and 4-2 overall, sitting in the No. 3 spot in league.
Mercer Island will travel to Liberty next Friday night for a 7 p.m. game. Juanita will host Sammamish in the Rebels homecoming game.