The Spartans’ momentum became insurmountable early in the second quarter.
Facing a fourth-and-1 just 4 yards from pay dirt, the Jackson Timberwolves – trailing 13-0 – were searching for a first down or more. Instead, they found a wall of Spartans, stopping Jackson’s running back 1 inch shy of converting the first down.
Two plays later, Isaac Ortega slalomed 94 yards through the Timberwolves’ defense for a score, and Stanwood never looked back on its way to a 40-7 season-opening victory Friday in Everett Memorial Stadium.
“It was a momentum changer,” head coach Eric Keizer said. “We stop them with fourth and a yard and then to come back and break one, that’s disheartening for the other sideline and huge for us.”
The Spartans opened the game with energetic yet methodical drives, largely fueled by a stable of running backs.
“We wanted to start strong, get to 1-0, by bringing the energy and staying consistent,” said Caden Carrigan, who ran for 110 yards and three touchdowns in the game.
The senior pounded his way into the end zone to open the scoring on Stanwood’s first two drives.
“Carrigan was the dude on offense,” Keizer said. “We kind of stuck with what worked and what they were giving us. If you can’t stop it, we’re going to keep doing it.”
Running backs Carrigan and Zane Schweiger – who had 52 yards on seven carries – are supplemented by slot receivers Ortega and Ryder Bumgarner, who can slide in to take handoffs.
“Any of those four dudes can get the ball and take it to the house,” Keizer said.
Stanwood D holds with an inch to spare. Spartan ball pic.twitter.com/abDcABREpf— Evan Caldwell (@Evan_SCN) September 7, 2019
With the Spartans claiming a 20-0 halftime lead, quarterbacks Chase Norton and Wyatt Custer were able to let loose a bit more after the break.
Norton, scrambling to his right from 17 yards out, hit Ortega in the back corner of the end zone to open the second-half scoring. Ortega finished with 115 yards on the ground, two scores and an interception on defense.
In the second half, Jackson adjusted to the Spartan’s run game by crowding the box with an extra man, which opened up passing lanes for Stanwood quarterbacks, Keizer said.
Jackson ended the shutout in the third when running back Brendan Sandico slipped free for a 72-yard touchdown run.
But after trading punts, Carrigan punched in another score on the ground from 9 yards away after a successful up-tempo drive early in the fourth quarter.
“That’s how we want to play,” Keizer said of the quick-to-the-line pace. “Everyone has embraced it. The line did great, moving quick. They’ve embraced the practice tempo and that converted over to game tempo.”
Meanwhile, on defense, the Spartans were flying to the ball, making solid tackles. Stanwood was led by Bumgarner (five assists on tackles, six solo tackles), Elijah Prout (four assists, six solo), Ortega (three assists, one interception), Carrigan (three assists, two solo), Will Inghram (two assists, two solo, two tackles for a loss) and JT McLaughlin (forced fumble).
Prout then slapped the exclamation point on the night with a 65-yard punt return up the sideline for a touchdown.
“It’s a long time coming,” Keizer said of the win. “Whatever the margin is, all we’re looking for is getting out with a ‘W.’”
Stanwood hosts Marysville-Getchell — who fell 14-12 to Shorecrest last week — at 7 p.m. Friday. The home opener will also be the first football game on the new artificial turf field. Look for a game preview Thursday afternoon at SCnews.com.
“It’s a league game, that’s huge,” Keizer said. “As much as that win (at Jackson) was awesome, these are the ones we need.”
Touchdown Spartans. Stanwood 13Jackson 0Running game powering the Spartans in this opening stanza. 1:15 left in 1Q pic.twitter.com/fQdlgzNnHi— Evan Caldwell (@Evan_SCN) September 7, 2019
Stanwood 13-7-14-6— 40
Jackson 0-0-7-0— 7
STAN: Caden Carrigan 1-yard run (PAT failed) 1Q
STAN: Carrigan 3-yard run (Garrett Craig kick) 1Q
STAN: Isaac Ortega 94-yard run (Craig kick) 2Q
STAN: Ortega 17-yard pass from Chase Norton (Craig kick) 3Q
JACK: Brendan Sandico 72-yard run (Daniel Yoon kick) 3Q
STAN: Carrigan 9-yard run (Craig kick) 3Q
STAN: Elijah Prout 65-yard punt return (PAT failed) 4Q
Individual Stanwood stats
Passing: Chase Norton 5-9 1 TD, 34 yards; Wyatt Custer 2-3, 43 yards
Rushing: Isaac Ortega 5-116 1 TD; Caden Carrigan 18-110 3 TDs; Zane Schweiger 7-52; Chase Norton 9-47; Logan Schweitzer 1-4; Ryder Bumgarner 1-2
Receiving: Isaac Ortega 4-46 1 TD; Caden Carrigan 1-11; Ryder Bumgarner 1-30; Isaiah Hughes 1-13
Defense: Ryder Bumgarner 5 assists, 6 solo; Elijah Prout 4 assists, 6 solo; Isaac Ortega 3 assists, 1 INT; Caden Carrigan 3 assists, 2 solo; Will Inghram 2 assists, 2 solo, 2 tackles for a loss; JT McLaughlin FF.
Spartan sports schedule
Girls Soccer: Jackson at Stanwood, 7:30 p.m. (Radio: tcsnsports.com)
Cross Country: Stanwood at Arlington, 3:45 p.m.
Volleyball: Archbishop Murphy at Stanwood, 7 p.m. (Radio: tcsnsports.com)
Girls Soccer: Stanwood at Archbishop Murphy, 6 p.m. Thursday
Boys Tennis: Stanwood at Lake Stevens, 3:45 p.m.
Football: Marysville-Getchell at Stanwood, 7 p.m. (Radio: tcsnsports.com)
Girls soccer: Stanwood at Lake Stevens, 7:30 p.m.
Boys Tennis: Mountlake Terrace at Stanwood, 3:30 p.m.
Tuesday (Sept. 17)
Volleyball: Stanwood at Shorewood, 7 p.m.
Girls Soccer: Shorewood at Stanwood, 7:30 p.m. (Radio: tcsnsports.com)
Girls Swim: Snohomish at Stanwood, 3 p.m.