Emerald Ridge showed it is ready for playoffs in a 36-24 victory over Curtis that earned the Jaguars their first SPSL 4A South title and pits them as the league’s top seed in Week 10 playoffs.
The game was Emerald Ridge’s (6-2, 5-0) sixth straight win, the most in the school’s history. Curtis (4-4, 4-2) fell into third in the league behind Graham Kapowsin.
Emerald Ridge played a tight game on both sides of the ball. The Jaguars got on the board first with a 22-yard pass from quarterback Griffin Meyers to wide receiver Brett Rankin.
Meyers, who threw 18 of 31 passes for 279 yards, was the big scorer of the game. The senior quarterback threw four touchdowns to three different receivers.
“[Meyers’] taking the team, and he’s done a tremendous job leading them,” Darren Erath, Emerald Ridge co-head coach. “Gaining confidence in his receivers, and his receivers made some great plays tonight.”
Rankin caught a second touchdown pass from Meyers, a 4-yard pass with two minutes left in the second quarter.
Meyers also threw a 63-yard pass to receiver Dalton Stanley in the first quarter and capped off the night with a 10-yard touchdown pass to receiver Jake March in the third quarter.
Emerald Ridge’s leading rusher was running back Cody Anderson with 94 yards on 24 carries.
Curtis’s first points came from running back Donnell Diego’s 23-yard touchdown run with 4 minutes, 55 seconds left in the first quarter.
Diego has been a powerful weapon for the Vikings this year, coming into the game with nine touchdowns, but the running back had sprained his hamstring, which limited his playing time. However, sophomore running back Jackson Miller stepped up to the plate, rushing for 86 yards on 13 carries, and recording Curtis’ last touchdown.
Emerald Ridge led for most of the game, but the Vikings almost tied up the score at 29-24 in the third quarter following two back-to-back touchdowns: a 90-yard kick return from receiver Bryce Stewart-Glowski and a Miller’s 3-yard touchdown run.
“I’m really proud how they bounced back, and they rally when they go down,” Erath said of the Emerald Ridge team after Curtis’ two touchdowns. “We try to get momentum back on our side and keep playing.”
Part of Emerald Ridge’s momentum was a strong defensive line that shut out Curtis in the fourth quarter, and had two sacks and a pick six.
“We’re doing our job, making plays for our linebackers and safeties and corners. Our whole line, I trust them all,” said defensive end Brandon Carter. “We’re so focused. We have a strong bond with each other.”
Carter, who leads Western Washington with 12.5 sacks, took 1.5 of the team’s two sacks this evening.
“Zero in on him. That’s my main focus. Go after the quarterback,” Carter said. “Do what my coaches tell me to do. After the snap, I know there’s going to be a pass.”
Receiver/defensive lineman Wainwright Clarke intercepted Curtis quarterback Gage Ferguson’s pass for a 10-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
Emerald Ridge will play its last league game against Spanaway Lake (0-4) next Friday, and Curtis will play Stadium (0-4) in a Narrows 4A crossover game Thursday.