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Second-half swoons a trend for Islander football team
Mercer Island football head coach Bill Heglar might want to consider hiring motivational speaker Matt Foley, from Saturday Night Live, for halftime speeches, because nothing else is working.
For the third time this season the Islanders were dominated during the second half of a game that they were in control of at half time. The team’s record dropped to 1-lost to winless Interlake 28-21 during Mercer Island’s Homecoming game Friday night.
“The kids just aren’t responding until too late,” said Heglar. “But we have to finish someone off when we get ahead.”
Mercer Island got on the board first following an interception and 20-yard run back by Jack Harrison. Senior tailback Bobby Norton pounded the ball over the goal line to cap the short 19-yard drive and take the early lead.
Following a fumble recovery by Mercer Island defensive back Sam Bliss, the Islanders drove 59 yards, but caught in a fourth down and two yards situation. With six defensive players stacked at the line of scrimmage, Norton took a pitch left and squirted through a narrow hole. With most of the defense behind him, the senior ran 40 yards for his team’s second score of the contest.
Interlake got on the board three possessions later with a 16-yard run by sophomore running back Brett Kirschner.
The Islanders fired right back, mounting a 10-play, 65-yard-drive that resulted in a three yard touchdown run for fullback Graham Maxwell.
Mercer Island took a 21-7 lead into halftime against the Saints, which had not won a game all year.
But the second half would be a completely different story.
Behind an offensive line that struggled during the first half, Kirschner ran 11 times during the Saints first 15 offensive plays of the second half for 104 yards.
“I just feel sorry for them, but it is a bit self-inflicted,” said Heglar.
Kirschner ran around through and sometimes over Islander defenders, resulting in two touchdowns and putting his team in a position to take an improbable lead.
The Saints took the 28-21 advantage as fullback Alan Lampe bulled over the goal line for two yards. The scare came with three minutes left during the third quarter.
“He is a big kid, and he runs hard,” said Heglar.
Mercer Island had plenty of time to get back into the game, but the momentum was clearly with the visiting team. The Islander offense sputtered, and only earned two more first downs during the final 15 minutes of the game.
Mercer Island fell to 1-5 in league games this season. The Islanders will get a tough test Friday as they will travel to Issaquah High School to take on the 3-3 Eagles, which still have a slim chance to make the postseason.