The long faces said it all along the sideline following the final game of the 2018 regular season for the Mercer Island Islanders football team.
Bellevue rolled to a 47-0 victory against Mercer Island on senior night on Oct. 26 at Mercer Island High School. Lake Washington defeated Juanita, 29-19, on Oct. 26 as well, eliminating Mercer Island from playoff contention. Emotions were evident after the game as coaches and players embraced each other before walking off the field for the final time in 2018. It was the final occasion 22 seniors on the Islanders roster would wear their high school football jerseys.
Mercer Island second-year head coach Ed Slezinger didn’t let a loss in the season finale dampen his team’s spirits following the game.
“The seniors last year and this year really bought into what we were trying to accomplish academically, personally and athletically. That is really all I can ask for out of my guys. Unfortunately the season didn’t end the way we wanted it to, but one thing we can stand on is that we’ve got great men leaving this program,” Slezinger said of the senior class.
Mercer Island’s offense struggled against Bellevue. The Wolverines defense finished the game with five interceptions. Mercer Island’s offense had just one first down in the first half of play. Mercer Island started off the season with six consecutive wins, but lost their final three games to Lake Washington, Liberty and Bellevue.
“It is always a positive any time you walk away with a better-than-.500 season. For me it’s paramount that we’re creating good men and that we’re seeing the success translate onto the field. At the end of the day, that is what it’s about for me. We’re doing things the right way and it shows with our record. I’ll take it,” Slezinger explained.