Panthers defeat Islanders in loser-out playoff football game

Bonney Lake Panthers running back Jason Day put together a game for the ages against the Mercer Island Islanders in a winner-to-state, loser-out playoff game.

Day rumbled for seven rushing touchdowns and had one receiving touchdown in Bonney Lake’s 56-42 victory against Mercer Island on Nov. 5 at Sunset Chev Stadium in Sumner. The Islanders finished the 2016 season with an overall record of 5-6. Bonney Lake head coach Jason Silbaugh said Day is one of the best players on the Panthers roster.

“He is a competitor. He plays both ways and he doesn’t come off the field. He is just a solid football player. He had a heck of a performance. It was pretty impressive,” Silbaugh said.

Mercer Island junior quarterback Nikhil Nayar, who connected with Will Krause, Cole Miller and Mitchell Mandt on touchdown passes in the loss, was impressed with Day’s performance.

“He probably broke 100 tackles today,” Nayar said as he shook his head. “He had five guys around him and he was just breaking off runs.”

Despite Bonney Lake’s excellence in the running game, Mercer Island kept the game close throughout with its prolific offensive attack. The Islanders cut the Panthers lead to seven points on four different occasions over the course of the game.

“It is a playoff game. We had to go back and fight. I told the guys the game is not over until the clock hits triple zeros,” Nayar said. “We had to keep fighting and just keep going and going. That is what we did.”

Mercer Island senior running back Jordano Mark, a gritty player who played in the game with an injured knee, had three rushing touchdowns in the final contest of his high school football career. Mark’s 22-yard touchdown run with 2:21 left in the third quarter which cut Bonney Lake’s lead to 35-28, was vintage Mark. He appeared to be stopped for a short gain but busted through the Panthers defense for the score. Silbaugh knew the Islanders wouldn’t go down without a fight.

“They fought hard and they never gave up. They just kept fighting the whole time. They made our defense look silly at times and that is pretty good. Our defense is pretty decent,” Silbaugh said.

Mercer Island head coach Brett Ogata was proud of his team’s effort in the final contest of the 2016 season.

“They just kept battling and kept going. These guys should keep their heads up. They played awesome. Our kids made some heroic plays today. Honestly, we just got beat by a better team today,” Ogata said.

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