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Streak unbroken: Lake Stevens continues 4A Wesco roll with 57-17 win over Glacier Peak

League winning streak now reaches 54 games in a row as Isaac Redford's interception late in first half immediately turns game's tide in favor of Vikings

LAKE STEVENS, Wash. – For 23 minutes, it looked like second-ranked Lake Stevens’ run of eight consecutive 4A Wesco championships and 53 league wins in a row was in jeopardy as the Vikings trailed No. 1 Glacier Peak.

But that streak couldn’t exist without the Vikings facing their share of adversity.

Senior Isaac Redford picked off Glacier Peak senior quarterback River Lien with 49.7 seconds remaining in the first half, and the Vikings followed that up on the very next play with a 58-yard touchdown pass from sophomore Kolton Matson to fellow sophomore Cassidy Belong-Banks to take a halftime lead.

Those two plays turned the momentum that had belonged to Glacier Peak in favor of the Vikings, who made the most emphatic of statements in the second half to win 57-17.

Lake Stevens outscored the Grizzlies, 43-7, over the final two quarters.

"We were down 10-0," Lake Stevens coach Tom Tri said. "That’s a 57-7 run is what that is. They’re a good team, they really are. I think we just did a good job of executing our plays offensively, and then slowing them down enough on defense to kind of force them to make some adjustments. Then, when they made their adjustments, I thought we did a good job of taking advantage of that."

Glacier Peak had controlled time of possession for the entire first half and was driving with a chance to extend its lead with less than a minute to go before halftime when Redford came up with his fifth interception of the season.

“Huge momentum (swing),” Tri said. “We talked about that at halftime too because we knew we were getting the ball coming back out (after halftime). We were able to march down the field and score again and go up 21-10.”

The first score of the second half also belonged to Belong-Banks on a 50-yard run. Belong-Banks had dropped a sure touchdown in the first half, but more than made up for it.

“He came over to the sidelines and he was obviously upset,” Tri said. “I just remember going up to him and saying, ‘Cass, don’t worry. I know it sucks, but don’t worry about it because we’re going to need you later. We’re going to call plays for you. You’ve got to dial it in and refocus because you’re going to get the ball again and have some more opportunities. He went out and took advantage of them.”

Belong-Banks took Tri’s words to heart and made what were arguably the two most important offensive plays of the game.

“That’s what I’m supposed to do,” Belong-Banks said. “I’m football player. I’m human. Everybody makes mistakes. I’m supposed to bounce back like that. It helped that my teammates and my coaches wrote the plays up and they believed in me and that just helped my confidence.”

The passing game of the Vikings has been inconsistent this season, but Matson played perhaps his best game so far in his young career. He finished the game 11-for-15 for 191 yards and two touchdowns and completed five of his final six passes for 159 yards and both of his touchdowns.

“In my mind, he was the player of the game,” Tri said of Matson. “Obviously, they’re trying to stop (senior running back) Jayden (Limar). Jayden’s a huge weapon for us, and he was awesome tonight as usual, but Kolton really stepped up and made some huge plays.

“I was super-proud of Kolton tonight. He’s a sophomore, but he stepped up. He looked a savvy veteran playing quarterback tonight.

The performances of the sophomores Belong-Banks and Matson almost overshadowed Limar’s performance, who was outstanding once again. The Notre Dame commit finished the game with 103 yards on 18 carries and scored four touchdowns. Redford also played a huge role, catching four passes for 98 yards and a touchdown to go along with his interception on defense.

The victory pushes the Vikings league championship-streak to nine and their league winning-streak to 54, but perhaps more importantly likely makes the Vikings the overall No. 1 Class 4A seed going into the postseason.

And the way in which they got the win without a doubt sent a message to all the other 4A playoff teams.

“This is the No. 1 team in the state, and they hadn’t lost to another 4A team in the state, and neither had we,” Tri said. “We’re trying to set the stage for the playoffs and have some home playoff games. In order to do that, you’ve got to be Wesco champs, number one, and then you kind of got to look good doing it to give ourselves a chance to be as high of a ranked team in the RPI by the seeding committee as possible so we can get as many home games in the playoffs as we can. So, there were huge implications there.”