(Puyallup, WA) The SPSL 4A title was on the line when Graham-Kapowsin traveled to Sparks Stadium to face the Emerald Ridge. The Eagles needed a win to clinch a share of the SPSL 4A Championship and the top seed into the crossovers while the Jaguars were hoping to cause a 3-way log-jam with a win over the Eagles. If E-R won it would create a 3-way tie with Curtis, G-K and E-R.
With the heart-pounding win G-K clinched the #1 spot in the District cross-over with Curtis #2 and Emerald Ridge #3. Currently, Sumner is sitting in 4th with Bethel and Puyallup both at 4-4 and tied for 5th. However, remember the 4A will seed all the crossover games so there is no automatic match-ups like occur in other districts, classifications and leagues. Being the top team will surely give the Eagles
Below is our game coverage of the Graham-Kapowsin vs Emerald Ridge another instant classic along with interview, video highlights, all scores from the SPSL 4A and current standings.
Graham-Kapowsin 41, Emerald Ridge 35
When the game began the Eagles began with the ball ran 11 plays but ended up having to punt the ball away and Emerald Ridge took-over on their own 10 after a 46-yard punt by Daveon Superales. However, the Jags would not be intimidated with a 2-play drive capped with about 7-yard completion from Jake Schakel to Kajon Babcock who then juked a defender and was gone 84-yards for the touchdown, add the Tanner Solinsky PAT and it was 7-0 with 5:43 to play.
The Jags got a big sack and forced another G-K punt and this time Superales laid the ball down at the Jags 2-yard line on a 51-yard boot. E-R again didn’t blink but went on a 9-play 98-yard drive with the big play Schakel to Tony Harste on a 44-yard connection to the G-K 4. Navarre Dixon then ran it to the 1 and then powered in and Emerald Ridge jumped out to a 14-0 lead.
At the end of the 1st quarter E-R led 14-0 and G-K knew they could not fall behind any further and had to get on the board before the Jags put them into too big of a hole. On their 3rd possession the Eagles struck and the 1st example of a game of inches was on display. QB Daveon Superales on a 3rd and 7 dropped back and launched a deep throw to Jabez Woods but Jags defenders Pierce Kelly and Kajon Babcock had great position and broke in front of Woods and looked to have tipped the ball. Woods kept his focus though and snagged the loose ball out of the air and found himself behind the 2 defenders making a play on the ball and streaked into the endzone to finish off the 63-yard TD. Aidan Skolrud kicked the PAT and it was now E-R 14 and the Eagles 7 early in the 2nd.
G-K then forced the Jaguars to punt and took over on their own 22 yard line. The Eagle offense would move the ball down to the E-R 32 when Superales would strike again as he dropped back on 1st and 10 and found a streaking Malachi Durant who was being defended tight but another game of inches went to Durant who wrestled the ball away for the score and the game was tied at 14.
Emerald Ridge answered quickly going 66 yards in 5 plays with a huge connection to finish off the drive when Schakel hit tight end Tony Harste on a 37-yard pass, catch and run. The Jags went up 21-14. G-K didn’t flinch though and on their next possession took just 3 plays to even the game again with the big play a 62-yard QB keeper for Superales to the house for a 21-21 tie and that would remain to the half.
Emerald Ridge began with the ball to start the 3rd quarter and got back to basics blasting the Eagle defense with Navarre Dixon and the run game. The 12 play drive took nearly 6 minutes and was finished off on a 5-yard pass from Schakel to Malaki Harris and they took a 28-21 lead.
G-K kept up their end of the ping-pong match and answered with their 1st drive of the 2nd half delivering a 7-play, 67-yard drive with the last 6 yards going to Superales and his 2nd keeper TD to tie the game at 28-28. The Eagles then did what hadn’t happened since the 1st quarter and that was come up with a stop.
After taking over on their own 48 G-K put together a solid 8 play drive and capped it off with a 3 yard TD pass from Superales to Malachi Durant and surged to a 35-28 lead, their 1st lead of the game. Emerald Ridge then answered with an explosive 2 play 72-yard drive with the big hitter a laser from Schakel to Harris who hit the seam route and was gone 64 yards for the score and the game was all even again at 35-35.
E-R then made a potential huge play with a fumble recovery on the Jags 49. But on their 1st play they fumbled it back to the Eagles back on the E-R 41. 4 plays later Superales and Woods connected again this time from 34 yards out and the score. The Eagles were up 41-35 but missed the PAT so G-K led by 6 with 4:28 left to play in the game.
When the Jags took over on their own 35 the only question was would E-R strike quickly or would they try to run the clock down to leave little time if they scored. The Jags would run 13 straight plays and had picked up 55 yards and with just 3-seconds to play in the game E-R had one more chance to tie and then try and win the game.
Jake Schakel stepped back and had plenty of time as G-K only rushed 4 and dropped 7 into coverage. A pair of Jags cut to the inside with 3 defenders in the area, Schakel had to try and zipped one into the middle of the end-zone but the ball was tapped up and fell onto the ground just an inch away from being caught with no time left on the clock securing the win for Graham-Kapowsin.
Graham-Kapowsin has 1 game left against Bethel while Emerald Ridge finishes with at Rogers. Our “Education as a Career” MVP went to G-K’s Jabez Woods.
For all the final stats and figures click on the ESN post-game show below along with several video highlights. To watch the full replay on the NFHS (subscription) click on the following link: Graham-Kapowsin at Emerald Ridge Football 10/21/2023
Interview with MVP Jabez Woods
ESN Post-Game Show
Emerald Ridge hits a huge play to get the scoring going
After falling behind 14-0 the Eagles get on the board with this spectacular play
G-K ties it at 14-14
Emerald Ridge re-takes the lead in the 1st half
The Eagles get the equalizer to tie the game at halftime
Emerald Ridge fell behind but ties it up in the 4th
Eagles score the game winner
G-K defense makes last play to secure the win
Other SPSL 4A Results
Sumner 44, Bethel 21
Puyallup 34, Bellarmine Prep 0
Curtis 49, South Kitsap 16
Olympia 22, Rogers 19
Final Week Schedule
Thursday, Oct 26
Curtis at Puyallup
Olympia at Bellarmine Prep
Friday, Oct 27
Bethel at Graham-Kapowsin
Emerald Ridge at Rogers
Sumner at South Kitsap