Lummi beats Wishkah, on to semifinals

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDNovember 23, 2013 

Lummi's Devin Cooper was helped off the field in the second quarter with what turned out to be only a bruised knee.

He did enough damage on the field, however, to help bring an end to Wishkah's football season.

Cooper scored on a 97-yard interception return prior to the injury and a 95-yard scrimmage run after it, as the Blackhawks thumped the Loggers, 57-22, in the first round of the Class 1B State Playoffs Saturday, Nov. 23, at Aberdeen's frigid Stewart Field.

Lummi (10-2) will attempt to avenge a previous defeat when it faces top-ranked Neah Bay in a state semifinal next weekend at the Tacoma Dome. It will be the second straight year the Northwest 1B Football League rivals have met in the semifinals.

Wishkah ended its season at 8-3.

The Loggers were more competitive than the score indicated, racking up more than 400 yards of total offense. What they couldn't afford against the faster, deeper Blackhawks, however, was mistakes.

Wishkah was guilty of four turnovers - three interceptions and a fumble. With their big-play offense, the Blackhawks made the Loggers pay heavily for the first three of those miscues.

Cooper amassed 206 yards rushing and scored three touchdowns. Teammate Kaverez Lane scored four times, on runs of 4, 14 and 8 yards and on a 17-yard pass from Logan Toby.

"They're a dominant team," Wishkah coach Mike Mitchell said of the Blackhawks. "They outmanned us, outgunned us. ... Long story short, they have a lot of speed and we have a little."

The Loggers' most damaging turnover was their first - during a sequence in which they were on offense continuously for more than nine minutes but were outscored 6-0.

Down 8-0 on Cooper's 1-yard touchdown run and Toby's conversion pass to Austin Brockie, Wishkah drove from its own 23-yard line to the Lummi 9 about 31/2 minutes into the second quarter.

Cooper, however, picked off Keigan Gardiner's halfback pass on the 3, veered to the left sideline and took it all the way for a 14-0 advantage.

Gardiner, who concluded his superlative prep football career by amassing 191 yards rushing and another 115 yards in receiving, narrowed the deficit to 14-8 with a 22-yard TD run with 4:20 remaining in the second period. Jace Anderson passed to Gardiner for the conversion.

That ushered in the game's second critical passage.

Cooper was helped off the field after taking a 21-yard pass from Toby on Lummi's next possession. The Blackhawks eventually finished off the drive when Lane made a fine catch of Toby's 17-yard pass into the right corner of the end zone with 1:41 left in the half.

Only two plays following the ensuing kickoff, Gardiner got behind the Lummi secondary to take Jace Anderson's pass over the middle and easily won the race to the goal to complete a 61-yard catch-and-run.

That left the Blackhawks with 1:21 to respond. They needed only 46 seconds to do so when Toby hooked up with Dino Williams on a 50-yard touchdown pass with 35 seconds remaining in the half.

Cooper, who had returned to the game by this time, ran for the conversion and a 28-14 halftime lead.

"I wasn't going to put him back in," Lummi coach Jim Sandusky said of Cooper. "But he was cutting (on the knee) on the sidelines. He came back and he was fine."

Lummi sandwiched a pair of Lane scoring runs (the first set up by Cooper's 42-yard run on the first scrimmage play of the second half) around Bo Barber's plunge from less than a yard away to take a 42-20 advantage into the final two minutes of the third period.

"We made some halftime adjustments. ... We started putting more pressure on the quarterback and gambled with some blitzes, but it ended up paying off," Sandusky said.

After Jacob Gardiner had recovered a Blackhawk fumble, Barber ran 17 yards to the Lummi 3. But the Loggers wound up fumbling the ball away on the 1-yard line.

Three plays later, Cooper took a direct snap in the spread formation and shook loose on his 95-yard scoring burst to settle the issue.

Wishkah's final points came on a safety when a Lummi snap in punt formation sailed out of the end zone.

Barber fell barely short of cracking the 100-yard rushing barrier. He was credited with 98 yards on 16 carries.

The Loggers, who suited up almost as many cheerleaders (11) as players (13) on Saturday, completed their most successful season since their 2008 state runner-up showing. The contest marked the swan song for seven Wishkah seniors - Barber, Keigan Gardiner, Trey Berge, Gabe Quintero, Dillon Mitchell, Chris Thein and Matt Richardson.

"They were District IV champions and got to go to state," Mitchell said. "I'm really proud of them."

Lummi 8 20 21 8 - 57

Wishkah 0 14 6 2 - 22

First quarter

Lummi - Devin Cooper 1 run (Austin Brockie pass from Logan Toby)

Second Quarter

Lummi - Cooper, 97 interception return (Pass failed)

Wishkah - Keigan Gardiner, 22 run (Gardiner pass from from Jace Anderson)

Lummi - Kavarez Lane, 17 pass from Toby (Pass failed)

Wishkah - Gardiner, 61 pass from Anderson (run failed)

Lummi - Dino Williams, 50 pass from Toby (Cooper run)

Third Quarter

Lummi - Lane 4 run (Lane run)

Wishkah - Bo Barber 1 run (run failed)

Lummi - Lane, 14 run (Pass failed)

Lummi - Cooper, 95 run (Deion Hoskins kick)

Fourth Quarter

Lummi - Lane 8 run (Hank Hoskins run)

Wishkah - Safety. Lummi snap sailed out of end zone.

First downs: Lummi 20, Wishkah 18

Net rushing: Lummi 280, Wishkah 306

Net passing: Lummi 168, Wishkah 115

Total net yardage: Lummi 448, Wishkah 421

Passing: Lummi 11-24, Wishkah 3-20

Had intercepted: Lummi 1, Wishkah 3

Fumbles lost: Lummi 2, Wishkah 1

Yards penalized: Lummi 30, Wishkah 55

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