Caden Carrigan sprinted 86 yards to paydirt on the first play after halftime — and neither he nor the Spartans looked back.
Stanwood outscored the visiting Shorewood Thunderbirds 21-0 in the second half to win 35-13 and capture the Spartans’ first home victory of the season.
“It feels really good to get this win in front of the home fans and on this new field,” said senior Elijah Prout, who caught three passes for 108 yards and a score. “It feels good to see all this hard work pay off.”
The Spartans spent much of the preceding practices preparing for Shorewood’s triple-option attack, which Stanwood kept bottled up for the most part.
“We prepared well and the stuff we worked on worked,” said senior AJ Larson, who was all over the place on defense with 5 assists on tackles, a batted ball, a tackle for loss and a sack. “We’re a tight family, and it’s good to get a win for all this work.”
The game opened with some fireworks — a pick by Ryder Bumgarner on Shorewood’s first play followed by a Spartan fumble on the very next play — before the Thunderbirds settled in for a clock-chewing 17-play scoring drive that spanned all but 90 seconds of the first quarter.
“Even with their long drive, we had a penalty that nullified a turnover,” head coach Eric Keizer said. “We made mistakes that allowed them to hang. … Across the board, we did a great job, but we still have to clean some things.”
Stanwood responded to the T-Birds’ long march with a resilient touchdown drive where a Caden Carrigan TD run was called back on a penalty only for Wyatt Custer to hit Isaac Ortega in the corner of the end zone to tie the game.
Then after another Shorewood score and blocked extra point, Custer quickly found Prout on a deep cross for a 67-yard touchdown to go up 14-13 at the half. The freshman QB would finish the game an efficient 11-of-19 for 170 yards and two scores.
Carrigan followed his long TD run to open the third quarter with a 10-yard scoring scamper two drives later.
The next Stanwood drive ended with a bobbled snap on a field goal attempt, but Ortega scooped up a Thunderbird fumble on the ensuing drive and returned it to the house for the Spartans’ final score.
“I’m proud of the team, we went through all this negative stuff — tough losses, low numbers, injuries — that could have broken a team but we powered through,” said senior Gabe Heckman, who had five assists on tackles and recovered two fumbles. “We had to switch personnel this season because numbers were low, but anything to help the team — that’s everyone’s mentality.”
Heckman himself moved from defensive line to linebacker during the season.
In all, the Spartan defense forced three second-half punts and secured four takeaways.
“We played some good ball in the second half,” Keizer said. “But it’s frustrating to know that if we clean up our game — penalties and turnovers — you can see what we can do in that second half.”
The Spartans wrap up their season 5 p.m. Thursday at winless Everett in Everett Memorial Stadium.
“We will be rolling like we have been with the dudes we have,” Keizer said. “The majority of those guys will play the whole game.”
SH: Cole Becker 4-yard run (Dennis Buchheit kick), 1st.
ST: Isaac Ortega 8-yard pass from Wyatt Custer (Garrett Craig kick), 1st.
SH: Kody Carpenter 45-yard run (failed kick), 2nd.
ST: Elijah Prout 67-yard pass from Wyatt Custer (Garrett Craig kick), 2nd.
ST: Caden Carrigan 86-yard run (Garrett Craig kick), 3rd.
ST: Caden Carrigan 11-yard run (Garrett Craig kick), 3rd.
ST: Isaac Ortega 44-yard fumble recovery (Garrett Craig kick), 4th.
Passing: Wyatt Custer 11-19, 170 yards, 2 TDs. Receiving: Elijah Prout 3-108, 1 TD; Isaac Ortega 1-8, TD. Rushing: Caden Carrigan 6-155, 2 TDs; Tre Frankhauser 3-34. Defense: AJ Larson 5 assists, 1 solo, 1 batted ball, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack; Ryder Bumgarner 9 assists, 2 solo, 1 tackle for loss, 2 interceptions; Caden Carrigan 11 assists, 3 solo, 3 tackle for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble; Isaac Ortega 1 fumble recovery for 44 yard TD; Will Inghram 17 assists, 4 solo, 3 tackle for loss; Jacob Evans 10 assists, 2 tackle for loss; Tre Frankhauser 8 assists, 2 solo, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack; Gabe Heckman 5 assists, 2 fumble recoveries; Jake Grant 5 assists, 1 forced fumble.
The Spartans scored a late TD to edge Glacier Peak on Oct. 30. The Spartans (6-2) were trailing 9-6 when QB Michael Miscotti found Ethan Jakel on third-and-15 for the go-ahead TD with 39 seconds left.