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Colts overwhelm Tri-Valley for District 11 Class A title

HEGINS It was a dream come true for Josh Skotek. The Marian senior made the play of the game in Friday s District 11 Class A championship clash against Tri-Valley, one most linemen could only dream about. With Tri-Valley quarterback Jaden Buchanan plowing toward the goal line, Skotek stripped the ball out of his hands and raced the other way, going 97 yards for a touchdown.

It was the centerpiece of a dominating performance by the Marian defense in a 33-0 shutout of the Dawgs at Bulldog Stadium. The victory gives Marian (8-4) its first District 11 title since 2007 and advances the Colts to next week s PIAA Class A playoffs. Marian will face District 12 champion Bishop McDevitt, a 21-9 winner over District 1 champion Delaware County Christian, on Friday at a District 1/12 site to be determined.

That s the play that I ve been dreaming about since my freshman year of high school, Skotek said of his score. I always told myself that all I wanted was a varsity touchdown. My dream came true tonight. While Marian s defense kept Tri-Valley (9-3) off the scoreboard, K.J. Snerr kept putting the Colts on it.

The senior tailback reached the end zone four times, scoring on runs of 6, 3 and 70 yards while hauling in a 10-yard pass from Ethan Kuczynski on the first play of the fourth quarter. Snerr finished with 188 yards rushing on 23 carries, leading a Marian attack that rushed for 254 yards and gained 337 total yards.

I m speechless, Snerr said. I m so proud of these guys with how they worked all season. I just can t thank them enough.

We need we needed to come out early and set the tone. Snerr s first touchdown capped a game-opening, seven-play, 56-yard drive that made it 7-0 3:24 into the game. A circus-like catch by Hunter Nause on a 30-yard pass from Kuczynski set up the score.

The Colts were back in business one play later, as Snerr picked off a Buchanan pass to set up Marian at the Tri-Valley 30. His 3-yard run five plays later gave Marian a quick 13-0 lead.

We dug ourselves a hole and just couldn t get out of it, Tri-Valley coach Mike Ulicny said. In the second half they made a couple of big plays, then they started plowing us and their line dominated us.

We didn t get off to a good start. We didn t play a game that we had to play to win a game like this. It wasn t a good night for us. Tri-Valley then mounted its best drive of the game, using a 42-yard run by Buchanan to reach the Colts 4-yard line in six plays. That s when Skotek stepped to the fore.

On second-and-goal, Buchanan took the handoff and plowed straight into the line. Like a bullet shot out of a gun, Skotek emerged from the pile with the ball and raced the other way. He nearly stumbled around the Tri-Valley 25, but regained his balance and reached the end zone untouched. It was part of a big night for the 5-foot-11, 225-pounder, who also had two sacks and a 5-yard tackle for loss.

It was a QB sneak, and somebody stood him up and I saw the ball, Skotek said. All week at practice we ve been working on strips. I ve been staying after (practice) just to make sure I practiced this because I knew this quarterback didn t have that good of ball security. I saw my opportunity, and I stripped it.

I knew I had to make it down and make a big play for my team.

Marian s defense controlled the tempo all night, preventing Tri-Valley s option attack from building any momentum. Buchanan broke off runs of 42 and 29 yards to finish with 97, but the Dawgs running backs only mustered 69 yards on 11 carries.

We really challenged our defense this week, Marian coach Stan Dakosty said. We wanted to be quick off the ball. We thought the quarterback was a great athlete and could make some plays, and we wanted to make sure he didn t. He made some early, but our kids bounced back. Our kids just played a great game. Marian s defense came up big again in the third quarter, as Tri-Valley drove inside the 10-yard line before turning it over on downs.

Snerr took the first handoff 20 yards, then galloped 70 yards on the second carry, a dive off the left guard in Marian s power formation.

It was just a power-I, come right at them, Snerr said. Our line just blocked beautifully on that play. They just took them right off the ball. Snerr s final touchdown capped a 10-play, 48-yard drive after a Tri-Valley punt. On a fourth-and-8 play from the 10-yard line, Kuczynski found Snerr open in the middle of the zone defense for the score. Tri-Valley didn t threaten the rest of the way, with Marian clearing the benches on a time-consuming drive later in the frame.

This is a football team, Dakosty said. We ve had some ups and downs this year, but they ve stayed together, they ve worked hard and they ve believed in themselves and our program.

They re district champs, and that s as good as you can be right now.

Miles’ job status now the story as Tigers fall hard again

OXFORD, Mississippi In the words of a member of the LSU Board of Supervisors – not a quality loss. No. 15 LSU lost a third straight game for the first time since 1999, and it was not pretty as it fell to Ole Miss, 38-17, Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium after falling behind 24-0 in the second quarter.

It s not just the number of losses, but the quality of the losses, board member Ronald Anderson said Friday on the slipping job status of LSU coach Les Miles, who is now the first LSU coach since Jerry Stovall in 1983 to lose three straight games by eight points or more.

The next two games are really important to deciding the future of the program,” Anderson said. That is down to one regular season game as the Tigers (7-3, 4-3 Southeastern Conference) host Texas A&M (7-3, 3-3 entering Vanderbilt game) on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on the SEC Network.

I honestly do not, Miles said when asked after the game if he felt his job was in danger. I m definitely in danger of feeling badly, and I feel that way now.

The Tigers outgained Ole Miss by 508 yards to 432 and ran 89 plays to 65, but they were penalized 13 times for 95 yards. A 59-yard run by tailback Leonard Fournette on LSU s first play to the Rebels 33 was wiped away by a holding penalty.

And that just seemed to plague us the in the first half, Miles said. We had a number of penalties. And the plague of biblical proportions bestowed upon LSU since a 7-0 start and rise to No. 2 in the College Football Playoff rankings continued. Quarterback Brandon Harris completed 26 of a whopping 51 passes for 324 yards all career highs. But he threw two interceptions, and the one to linebacker Christian Russell was returned 36 yards to set up the Rebels third touchdown for a 24-0 lead with 3:24 to play before halftime.

Miles said he planned to address his job security with the team on Monday.

Well I don t know about my job security, Miles said when asked what he will tell his team. Whatever I know about it, absolutely. When asked what he knew about his job security, Miles said, Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Then he made light of the situation that LSU athletic director Joe Alleva has not publicly addressed. He was at the game Saturday but did not speak to reporters.

You guys decided that it was a good time to do it, Miles said of stories written about his job status last week. And so I figured, what the heck? It s going to be in the paper, so I might as well try explaining it to them.

For the second week in a row, Miles criticized the attack of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, who is in the final year of a three-year contract. Though the Tigers ended up with large numbers, they traveled five yards in seven plays on that first drive that featured four penalties, suffered a missed field goal from 27 yards by Trent Domingue on their second drive and punted four times in all in the first half as the Rebels built the 24-0 lead. LSU managed to cut that to 24-7 on a 39-yard touchdown pass from Harris to wide receiver Tyron Johnson with 1:14 to go before half.

Yeah, I don t think there s any question that that offense needs to be adapted, needs to be fixed, Miles said. We were out of sync. It s not how we practice. We have one game left. And I told the team, We re going to play best. We re not going to repeat these mistakes. We ve lost some chemistry.

The Tigers appeared inspired and ready to make a game of it early in the third quarter as they cut the deficit to 24-17 in less than five minutes. LSU took the third quarter kickoff 54 yards in six plays for a 43-yard field goal by Domingue, which was set up by a 16-yard completion from Harris to tight end Colin Jeter and a 32-yard run by Fournette his longest since an 87-yard touchdown run against South Carolina on October 10. He finished with 108 yards on 25 carries, but he had just 29 in the first quarter. LSU got the ball right back on the kickoff when Tigers tailback Nick Brossette tackled Jaylen Walton, who fumbled it over to LSU linebacker Donnie Alexander at the Ole Miss 25. Harris hit Jeter again for 11, and Fournette gained 14 yards on three carries to the 1-yard line. On third and goal, Fournette fumbled at the goal line, but right guard William Clapp recovered in the end zone for the touchdown, cutting Ole Miss lead to 24-17 with 10:04 to play in the third period. The Tigers defense lost the momentum, however, by allowing an 83-yard drive in seven plays as the No. 22 Rebels (8-3, 5-2 SEC) took a 31-17 lead on an 11-yard touchdown run by quarterback Chad Kelly with 7:34 to go in the period. Ole Miss pushed that to 38-17 on a 36-yard touchdown pass from Kelly to tight end Evan Engram with 3:32 to go in the third.

We re within a score, Miles said. You d like to think that the defense would respond and play well, but that wasn t today.

LSU s defense allowed 19-of-34 passing to Kelly for 280 yards and two touchdowns. He also gained 81 yards on 12 carries and scored two touchdowns. LSU looked dead on arrival as it fell behind 10-0 early in the second quarter and by 24-0 with 3:24 to go in the first half as it drew nine penalties for 58 yards in the process. LSU opened the game looking as weak and lifeless as their all white attire from head to toe. On Ole Miss first play from scrimmage, Kelly found another patented busted coverage by the LSU secondary and completed a 57-yard pass to wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo to the Tigers 24. Four plays later, Gary Wunderlich kicked a 32-yard field goal for a 3-0 Ole Miss lead with 12:41 to play in the first quarter.

The Rebels went up 10-0 early in the second quarter on an 80-yard drive in eight plays as Kelly shredded LSU s secondary for completions of 27 and 20 yards to the Tigers 25. Walton scored the touchdown on a 2-yard run with 12:30 to play in the second quarter. After three plays and a punt by LSU, Ole Miss made it 17-0 with a 70-yard drive in 10 plays with Kelly completing 4 of 6 passes for 62 yards, then scoring on a 5-yard run with 7:13 left before half.

It s tough. This is frustrating, LSU defensive tackle Christian LaCouture said. Losing three straight leaves a huge pit in your stomach, but you have to get ready for next week. Asked if he and his teammates are playing for Miles job, LaCouture said no. We don t pay attention to outside sources. But Coach Miles is our leader, he said.

That s our coach, linebacker Deion Jones said. We ve just got to go back to the drawing board and keep our heads up. Miles said he has not focused on the stories about his job status.

No I honestly have not taken those reports, he said. I m so busy doing my job that s secondary in my nature. Eleven years ago, I showed up here and we won our first game. Then we lost our second game, and I knew we were soon to be fired. So what I ve always done is, I put my head down and I go to work. And I try to do the best things. And if I get that done, we have success. If I don t, you guys will all be writing a bunch of other stuff.

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A PADDLE AROUND WHIDBEY: Saratoga Passage, from Clinton to Cornet Bay

By SUE ELLEN WHITE

Special to The Record

In the August Monday morning sun, by foot, motorcycle and car, commuters board the Clinton ferry headed for the office, plant or meetings.

Below on the beach, we re getting ready to head north to Cornet Bay 45 miles by kayak.

The last of three separate legs in our journey to circumnavigate Whidbey, we ve planned for three days. With clear and warm weather forecast and our route up the more protected east side of the island, my husband John and I are feeling confident and relaxed.

Not far from our launch at Clinton Beach Park we paddle past Brighton Beach where a sky-blue house lies akimbo, a log sticking up from its fractured parts. It is posted with signs warning people away from one of Whidbey s more spectacular bluff failures.

The jarring sight contrasts with a heron resting on a pier, waiting for the tide to go out, and with two deer who meander the beach licking rocks for the salt.

At Marissa Lane, just south of Langley, we pause to see if we can locate the new sign notifying boaters of its public access. A large No Trespassing sign so commonplace on our shorelines is visible on a nearby bulkhead, but not the one telling us where we can legally get to shore. The tide is going out so we paddle close to get out and look, but the tidelands are apparently home to ghost shrimp. The two-inch crustaceans attract the mammoth gray whales to the area each spring. These whale treats make the beach soft. As we get out, we start sinking and abandon the idea of locating the sign.

Just south of Langley, the water is rich with a meadow of bright green eelgrass shimmering in the sun. It s home for crabs, small fishes and many other sea dwellers, the sign of a healthy environment.

Langley s harbor entrance is well marked and we watch the flow of crabbers, pleasure boaters, kayakers, visitors and paddle boarders at the marina. Our stop is brief as we d need to hike up the hill to get to town; there is no secure place to leave our boats and no place to camp.

To the east, Hat Island and Camano Head form a backdrop for the rugged volcanic Mount Baker, known as Koma Kulshan to the Salish people. The mountain will be our constant companion on the trip. We turn northwest, following the shoreline. Wooded hills and small green fields mark numerous small hobby farms. The bluffs and beaches here seem the least disturbed and most stable of any we ve seen on our circumnavigation.

Between Bell s Beach and Fox Spit the water is rich with egg-yolk jellyfish. Aptly named, these cold-water creatures have little sting, feeding on smaller jellyfish and zooplankton. They glide past our boats and it s as though we are adrift in an enormous frying pan full of poached eggs.

Beach houses line the curve of the low sand spit at Fox Spit. Unlike some other coastline communities, the beach appears to be natural rather than human-altered, such as with high-pressure hydraulic hoses. In the mid-1900s it was common practice on Whidbey to build a bulkhead beyond the edge of a beach, then go offshore, stick a big hose in the water and aim it at the bluff. The bank sluiced down, filling the bulkhead and creating more land. This new shore was then platted, registered with the county and sold as beach lots. Such lots are now the objects of slides resulting from natural processes, exacerbated by such development.

The tiny islet off the east entrance to Holmes Harbor is lined with seals basking on the warm sand. Formerly known as Hackney Island, Baby Island is disappearing, a victim of the ceaseless energy of waves.

Shell middens provide evidence of long use by the Salish people who used the abundant clams, mussels and other shellfish found there. After World War I the island was settled, then bought by wounded veteran Darrell Scott, according to a 1959 Seattle Times article. Scott set up a fishing lodge, selling bait and renting boats and rooms to fishermen. He also was witness to skirmishes between the Coast Guard and rumrunners during Prohibition. One winter was so cold that Holmes Harbor was locked in a sheet of ice and he rescued bootleggers whose boat had been trapped in the frozen water, according to The Seattle Times. Several days later, a generous sample of their wares, according to the article, appeared on his beach. The island has since returned to the ownership of the Tulalip Tribes.

With no camping facilities, we skip Holmes Harbor and Freeland and instead head north to our destination for the night across Saratoga Passage. Camano Island State Park s water trails campsite is a welcome sight after a long paddle and we settle in right at the edge of the beach s day-use area.

As with most camping, even the most basic meal tastes great. The day-use area closed and we enjoy our dinner accompanied only by a flock of small seagulls swooping after bugs just offshore. A long summer sunset illuminates Whidbey Island to the west.

Great blue herons and a pileated woodpecker are our morning companions till we cross Saratoga Passage again, meeting up with fellow paddler Baz Stevens, who accompanies us for the morning. A very accomplished whitewater and sea kayaker, he cheerfully resigns himself to our slower pace dictated by fully loaded boats and long-distance pace as well as the winds and current, which are against us.

We pass a large dock and sign reading Whido-Isle Resort. Now a residential development, the sign pays tribute to one of the long-gone small fishing resorts that dotted the area. Run by Trevor and Harriette Roberts, they raised their family by welcoming other families to small cabins and renting boats, clam rakes and buckets, creating indelible memories. Cama Beach State Park has preserved this charming part of our history where visitors can stay in tiny beachside fishing cabins.

With the tide out, Harrington Lagoon beckons as a rest stop. The wide, sun-swept beach is laden with clams and, surprisingly, oysters. We meet Robert the oyster farmer, a compact man with sandy beard, firm handshake and an infectious smile. It s a mystery how he accessed the beach from his high bluff side aerie. He shows us his small oyster operation, noting that he also raises manila clams.

Today we are headed for Oak Harbor, the next available campsite, so we skip Penn Cove and Coupeville, catching a view of the graceful sailing ship Suva tacking across the harbor as we bid goodbye to Baz.

Another mass of egg-yolk jellyfish is just off City Beach, our campsite for the night. Some may scoff at camping in downtown Oak Harbor, but the city has provided a water trails site right on the beach with a magnificent view down Saratoga Passage. A PADDLE AROUND WHIDBEY: Saratoga Passage, From Clinton To Cornet Bay

We do our best to reward their foresight by contributing to the local economy via a great dinner at an outdoor bistro. Evening at our camp is quiet, filled with twinkling green and red offshore navigation lights. In the morning, it s a short walk from our tent to lattes and croissants.

Crossing Crescent Harbor, a noisy flock of seagulls is a contrast to the silent bobbing of numerous diving ducks. The shoreline is quiet and undeveloped, the result of long ownership by the U.S. Navy. This time, in the event of training flights, I ve tucked earplugs in my day bag as protection against jet noise.

We paddle east. Across the water beyond Polnell Point, hills stack up in the distance. In shades of blue and purple they meet the sky punctuated by the rugged North Cascades. Mount Baker and Mount Rainier frame the north and south this is arguably one of the island s most beautiful spots.

With the tide out, we are drawn for lunch to the public part of a beach dominated by a massive glacial erratic, a rock left by receding glaciers thousands of years ago. It has a small sign stuck to it. Thinking it might contain interesting information, we approach: No Trespassing, it says.

Rounding Strawberry Point, we head northeast and the water turns milky green in Skagit Bay. The emptying of the Skagit River has been dumping river-borne material and nutrients here for eons, making the bay shallow and muddy.

It is only here that the tides begin to move through Deception Pass, rather than flowing all the way down Saratoga Passage, around Possession Point, back north up Admiralty Inlet and out the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Pacific Ocean.

Our last campsite is our favorite on Whidbey, Skagit Island. It s a small islet that fills with a succession of wildflowers in the spring and has an expansive view and remote feel. It is already occupied by two consummate outdoorsmen who ve arrived via canoe and await more friends. Ron and Ray are quintessential Northwesterners and we share some adventures and the titles of our favorite books on the region.

The day dawns clear and fresh; our last short paddle takes us past Kikit Island, a tombolo attached to the mainland. At the tip is an added tombolo, and in the spring it is covered with delicate blue-flowered camas plants one of the First Nation s traditional staples, a starchy tuber.

At the end of the 1960s, this little gem at the intersection of Skagit and Simlik bays was proposed as the site of a nuclear power plant. Fortunately, the environmentally concerned prevailed and the land is now co-owned by Washington State Parks and the Swinomish Tribe.

By mid-morning we see the filigreed Deception Pass Bridge to the west as we end our trip with a high-five where we began it last summer, at Cornet Bay. We haul our gear off the beach and consolidate it at a picnic table just as a school bus arrives, full of young children from an Oak Harbor summer program. They are heading out to the pass with Deception Pass Tours.

For us this trip has come to a close, but these youngsters are off on their own voyage of discovery, likely seeing their home in a whole new way. For some, perhaps, it will be the beginning of a lifelong infatuation with the Salish Sea.