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Mercer Island loses final game to Seattle Prep | Prep Football

The tumultuous Mercer Island football season came to a close on Friday with a 29-26 loss to Seattle Prep, despite a 20-0 lead during the second quarter.

“We just had a breakdown,” said Mercer Island coach John Williams. “They played with enthusiasm, and we were flat.”

The Islanders started the contest with an effective running game. Their first drive, consisting of 15 plays, went 80 yards and culminated with a six-yard touchdown run by Kurtis Rosengreen. Stiff Islander defense led to a turnover on downs during the Panthers’ first possession.

Prep’s next offensive series culminated with a fumble recovery by Islander TJ Blackburn. A 20-yard run from scrimmage by Islander Steven Caditz gave Mercer Island a 14-0 lead.

Caditz and Rosengreen would combine for 117 yards on 34 carries and two touchdowns during the first half.

A missed 32-yard field goal by Seattle Prep opened the door for the Islanders to extend their lead. Two possessions later, Mercer Island mounted a 62-yard drive that was finished off on a quarterback sneak by freshman Jeff Lindquist for one yard. The Islanders missed the extra point for the 20-0 lead.

The three-score lead by Mercer Island lasted a total of 17 seconds, though, as Seattle Prep returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for its first score. The Panthers then surprised Mercer Island with an on-side kick, as Prep recovered the ball on Mercer Island’s 43-yard line. Five plays later, the Panthers would put the ball into the end zone on a 31-yard pass play.

“They made some adjustments we weren’t ready for,” said Williams.

The Panthers scored again just after halftime on an 81-yard pass play. A botched extra-point attempt resulted in a two-point conversion and a 22-20 lead for Seattle Prep. The three scores came in less than two minutes of play.

But instead of folding up under the avalanche of opposition points, Mercer Island controlled the next four minutes of the game, driving 74 yards in 15 plays. The possession would come to an end as Lindquist scored his second touchdown of the game on a quarterback sneak of six yards. The blocked extra point left the Islanders with a four-point lead.

The next six possessions would result in two punts, three turnovers on downs and a fumble. One of Prep’s possessions came to an end with two consecutive dropped balls in, or close to, the end zone.

The Panthers regained control of the game with less than three minutes remaining by driving 76 yards on seven plays, with the longest as a 49-yard touchdown pass. But the score left Mercer Island with 1:27 on the clock and the ball at its own 29-yard line. Lindquist and the Islanders went to work. An 11-yard pass to Rosengreen gave the Islanders hope. A 12-yard pass to Bryce Borer moved the ball into Panther territory. A 10-yard pass to Mike Potoshnik and a 21-yard scamper by Lindquist put the Islanders into field goal range. Then disaster struck. An incomplete pass, a fumble resulting in a loss of six yards, a false start penalty and another incomplete pass knocked the Islanders out of field goal range and to fourth-and-23. Lindquist would scramble, evading two tacklers, but was eventually brought down at midfield, ending hopes of an Islander comeback.

Mercer Island finished 3-7 overall in Williams’ first year as head coach, and Lindquist finished the season two touchdown passes from the high school’s season record.

Correction

Mercer Island quarterback Jeff Lindquist finished the season with 10 touchdown passes, not as reported in last week’s issue of the Reporter.

The Reporter regrets the error.

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