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Islander football pounded by Liberty
One of the drummers in the Mercer Island High School marching band was dressed as Oscar the Grouch on Friday night as the Islander football team took on Liberty. Fittingly, Oscar the Grouch is the only character that would like how the Mercer Island football team played during the second half of the 51-14 loss.
“It is hard to find an answer for this thing,” said a nearly speechless Bill Heglar, the Islanders’ head coach.
It may be surprising to know that the Islanders held the lead during the first quarter of the game. But that lead lasted all of nine seconds.
Following punts by both teams, the Islanders earned a first down on an 11-yard run by Bobby Norton. Islander Graham Maxwell took the ball on the next play straight up the middle, running through the grasp of two defenders and into the secondary. From there it was a foot race to the end zone that culminated with an Islander celebration. Despite the fact that the extra point was blocked, Mercer Island had the early lead and momentum, 6-0.
The ensuing kickoff changed everything, as Liberty brought the ball back 90 yards to take the lead 7-6, a lead they would not relinquish as the Islanders began falling apart.
“It is amazing to me that we can get a lead and let it go that fast,” said Heglar.
Mercer Island’s next possession began at the 30-yard line, but a blocked punt gave Liberty the ball on a short field. Seven plays later, the Patriots opened the second quarter with their second touchdown of the game.
The Islanders finished the half with a chance to get back into the contest, as they held possession with five minutes left. Mercer Island moved the ball 65 yards on six plays, including a big 31-yard run by Norton. But with the ball on the 15-yard line and a chance to tie the game, the Islanders could not capitalize. Two penalties, three incomplete passes and a run that went nowhere resulted in a turnover on downs.
“I was surprised we didn’t score there,” said Heglar. “We needed to score there.”
The second half was all Liberty. Following a 12-yard touchdown run by the Patriots, Mercer Island found itself pinned inside its 15-yard line and not able to move the ball. A high snap on a fourth down punt attempt gave Liberty a safety and a three score lead at 23-6. That lead would be extended to 37-6 before anything positive would happen for the Islanders.
A 20-yard pass from quarterback Thomas Hollowed to Islander Phillip Seda turned into a 78-yard touchdown play as Seda ran past two defenders on his way to the end zone. A successful two-point conversion cut the lead to 37-14. The Patriots would score two more touchdowns before the end of the game.
The Islanders will play their final game of the season Friday at 7:30 p.m. in a Metro-KingCo cross over game with Chief Sealth.