BURLINGTON — The Mount Vernon High School football team can keep the Battle of the Bridge trophy in its case for another year.
The Bulldogs came away with the victory over rival Burlington-Edison 19-14 in the 114th edition of the game Friday night.
“What we learned about our team tonight is that they are young and scrappy,” Mount Vernon coach Nik Vasilchek said. “They are determined. They are carrying that momentum from last year ... Burlington-Edison’s effort was awesome. You are always going to get their best. We are happy to be 1-0.”
The Tigers hold the series lead 61-44-9, however, that means little for a Burlington-Edison team that has lost the last three battles.
“It feels great,” said Mount Vernon’s Carlos Garcia while surrounded by a sea of rabid Bulldog fans. “To win this game our senior year, it’s big.”
And it was Garcia who came up big for the visitors.
With a little over a minute remaining in the fourth quarter, Burlington-Edison was in the midst of a solid drive that began at its own 19-yard line. The line of scrimmage was now on the Bulldogs 19 and the home team had the ball first-and-10.
Tigers quarterback Zach Watson dropped back, rolled slightly to his right and let it fly ... right into the hands of Garcia.
The Bulldogs snapped the ball three times and on the final play of the game, it was Garcia in punt formation who took the long snap and ran around until the final seconds bled off the clock.
“That was a long eight seconds,” Garcia said. “I’m tired, but we got the win and that’s what matters.”
After a sluggish start that saw both teams exchange punts, the Bulldogs prepared to keep that trend going facing a fourth down and four yards to go from their own 24.
This time around, however, it was Garcia at punter and he took the snap raced seven yards for the first down.
Mount Vernon converted the fake into points when Miguel Castro bowled in from a yard out, capping a 69-yard drive. The extra-point kick by Jacob Perez staked the visitors to the early 7-0 lead.
For the game, Castro carried the ball 24 times for 124 yards and three touchdowns.
Burlington-Edison answered in the second quarter, drawing to within one as Marquis Pressley raced in from the 7-yard line. The extra point was missed and it was 7-6 Bulldogs heading into halftime.
Pressley amassed 134 yards on 23 carries.
The Tigers assumed the lead in the third as Watson scrambled in from a yard out. He then threw the 2-point conversion to Bret Johnson and the home team was up 14-7.
The final two scores — including the game winner — came courtesy of Castro. The Bulldogs closed to 14-13 when Castro again plunged in from the 1-yard line early in the fourth quarter.
Trevor Beaner entered the game in the middle minutes of the fourth quarter, allowing Castro valuable time to catch his breath. Beaner, a player from the defunct Anacortes High School football program, simply punished Burlington-Edison defenders chewing up valuable time and yardage.
Castro re-entered the game and with 3:33 remaining, he scampered around the right side and beat the defense to the corner of the end zone from the 17. The 2-point conversion failed.
“Last year we had Seth Tercero carrying the ball,” Vasilchek said. “This year, we have two Terceros and that’s a great situation.”