Langley defeated South Lakes 23-22 on Friday night in a tightly contested game to open up Liberty Conference play.
Behind the running attack of Saxon senior Tre Vasiliadis, the Saxons ran the ball 49 times and were able to tally over 350 yards of rushing on the night, none more damaging than an 80-yard drive in the fourth quarter that put the Saxons ahead with less than 2 minutes remaining in the game. The Seahawk defensive line, dominant the past two weeks, struggled to keep one of the top rushers in the region in check. “Defense was disappointing tonight, Coach Jason Hescock lamented post-game. “We knew going in that he [Vasiliadis] could make us miss. We didn’t do anything out of concept on the night, we just could not tackle.” The Seahawk secondary, by contrast, intercepted Saxon senior quarterback Matt Flenniken on four separate occasions increasing their tally to 12 on the season.
The Seahawks where dealt an early blow offensively after senior center Mark Semelfort injured an ankle on the first play of the game. The injury forced Seahawks coach Jason Hescock to shuffle around his usually reliable offensive line and the team struggled. The changes led to several poor exchanges between the quarterback and center, some of which led to long-yardage situations that the Seahawks were unable to recover from in a scoreless first quarter.
Semelfort was able to return to action in the second quarter and the offense found its rhythm with an 8-yard pass from Marcus Miles to Joseph Dagbe, but the Saxons responded with two Vasiliadis touchdown runs of 76 and 49 yards. A field goal as time was winding down gave the Saxons a 17-7 lead at the half.
South Lakes showed their resilience coming out of the locker room with two scores in less than 5 minutes, both passing scores from Miles to Dagbe, and looked to take control of the game with a 22-17 lead heading into the fourth quarter. After a Garrett Matthes 48-yard punt pinned the Saxons deep in their own territory, Langley put together a 13-play drive culminating in another Vasiliadis run and enabled the Saxons to walk away with their first victory against the Seahawks since 2014.
“We’ve been our worst opponent this season when we’ve lost,” stated Hescock. “Tonight is going to hurt and it will dictate what happens to us in the future. This will sit in the head of players; especially the seniors.” Regular season losses have been rare the past few years for many involved in the program but two of the three losses this season have been by a total of 4 points and the other loss was a 4 point game until the final minute. These Seahawks have been competitive and the many young players on the field will benefit from these experiences in the future.
This week South Lakes (3-3) will travel to Arlington to play the Washington-Liberty Generals (3-3). The road has been kind to the Seahawks as of late but the results this past week could serve as motivation against conference foes, like the Generals, that have struggled against the Seahawks in recent memory.