Gators run over sentinels


Sports editor

The Spanaway Lake Senitinels were ran over, around and any other way possible Friday night during a 49-14 loss to Decatur. The Gators improved to 2-0 in the South Puget Sound League South Division with the impressive victory.

“We just had to step it up and play hardball,” said senior lineman Lance Witherspoon. “We just played hard-core football.”

Witherspoon was part of the Gators’ offensive line that opened up gaping holes in the Spanaway Lake defense, allowing running backs Kyle Bressler and Rodney McCurry, along with quarterback Darin Harris, to rack up 407 yards on the ground. All three tallied at least 100 yards rushing the football.

Bressler led the Gators with a career-high 166 yards and three touchdowns, McCurry also ran for three touchdowns and 112 yards on just 11 carries. Harris tallied 106 yards on 10 carries, including a 61-yard touchdown.

“Our (offensive line) kids are pretty solid,” said first-year coach Bill Heglar. “They are pretty good players and those Spanaway kids fought hard.”

The Gator win sets up another big game Friday night when they travel to Puyallup to take on the upstart Emerald Ridge Jaguars, who stunned Federal Way Saturday, 28-26. The come-from-behind victory over the Eagles was Emerald Ridge’s first SPSL victory during their two-year history in the league. The Jaguars went 0-9 last year and lost 48-22 to the No. 3-ranked Bethel Braves during the first week of the season.

Emerald Ridge uses a bevy of sophomores — starting six after graduating 18 of 35 players from last season’s winless team. The sophomores have proven to be the big-play makers for the Jags. Coach Kelly Susee credits their enthusiasm and lack of knowledge about the rugged SPSL South as big factors in the team’s surprising start. Sophomores Neko Doy and Bo Mullen made the biggest plays Saturday against the Eagles. Doy hauled in the 31-yard, game-winning touchdown with just over five minutes left in the game after Mullen, a linebacker, returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter.

But the Jaguars defense can be run on, which could be very bad news against the run-happy Gators. Federal Way junior C.J. Green proved that. Green carried the ball 27 times for 187 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

“Emerald Ridge played hard,” Federal Way coach John Meagher said. “They were down, but they didn’t quit. They battled back.”

Against Spanaway Lake, Harris, the Gators’ all-everything quarterback, didn’t complete a pass. Harris finished 0-for-2 after throwing for 125 yards and touchdown during Decatur’s week-one win over Curtis.

“I just do what it takes to win,” Harris said. “I just try to do my best.”

Decatur opened up the scoring after an interception by senior Warren Faber on the Sentinels’ 3-yard line. Bressler punched the ball in for his first touchdown one play later to put the Gators up 7-0.

After a Spanaway Lake punt, Bressler took the ball 76 yards up the middle less than two minutes later for the touchdown and a 14-0 lead.

Spanaway Lake’s two touchdowns were both set up with trick or gadget plays. Their first was a 50-yard pass completion with 3:00 left in the first quarter when Steven Parley went uncovered up the sideline after faking like he was coming out of the game for a substitution.

After McCurry scored on a 37-yard run early in the second quarter the Sentinels’ second touchdown came with 9:04 left in the half on a perfectly executed 53-yard halfback pass back to the quarterback — a play that cut the Decatur lead to 21-14.

“We knew that (trick) stuff was coming,” Heglar said. “But you can’t practice defending that at game speed.”

Following the Spanaway Lake trickery, the Gators tallied four-straight touchdowns — a 21-yard McCurry run up the middle, Harris’ 61-yarder, a 10-yarder from Bressler and an 11-yard run up the gut from McCurry — to finalize the score.

The Decatur defense was also dominating. The Gators tallied six sacks, forced four turnovers and held Spanaway Lake to just 78 yards rushing. During their opening-week win over Curtis, the Gators limited the Vikings to under 100 yards rushing. The Sentinels (1-1, 1-1) passed for 290 yards.

“We still have a lot of things to get better at,” Heglar said.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565,

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