By RayJaun Stelly, The Seattle Medium
In the Marquee game of the Memorial Classic held last weekend at Memorial Stadium, the O’Dea Fighting Irish, ranked #2 in the 3A division, faced the Lake Stevens Vikings, ranked #2 in the 4A division, in a pivotal early season matchup for both teams as they looked to either move up in the rankings, remain undefeated, or suffer their first loss.
O’Dea looked to go 3-0 after their previous 49-0 win against Kennedy Catholic the week before, while Lake Stevens looked to open their season with a road win against a non-league opponent.
In their first offensive series, O’Dea looked to show how dominant they were but penalties and miscues stalled the drive and they were forced to settle for a field goal. Lake Stevens, on the other hand, was in sync as they were able to convert fourth-down attempts and rushed for big yardage on each handoff.
Defensively, the Vikings didn’t allow the Fighting Irish to find their rhythm whether they rushed or attempted a pass, as they made O’Dea completely uncomfortable. From forcing punts to penalties Lake Stevens had all the momentum.
Before halftime, Lake Stevens scored the games’ first touchdown on a 70-yard run and that fueled them to take off once the third quarter began.
Vikings’ quarterback Grayson Murren displayed a relentless trust in his teammates. Despite having some dropped passes and some occasional miscues on offense, Murren continued to put his teammates in great positions to be successful throughout the game.
Opening up the third quarter, Murren completed a 56-yard pass which led to the Vikings’ second rushing touchdown of the game. Trailing 14-3 O’Dea remained aggressive, but Lake Stevens didn’t take their foot off the gas especially on defense.
The Vikings would force two turnovers on downs, a fumble, and two interceptions. Murren’s 75-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter was the final touchdown and dagger to Fighting Irish, as Lake Stevens handed them their first loss of the season, 20-3.
O’Dea running back Jason Brown, Jr., who entered the game with 354 yards rushing and five touchdowns on the season, had another stellar performance, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough for the Irish to get the win. Brown finished the game with 209 yards rushing on 27 carries and said that although the loss was disappointing it is an opportunity to improve and get better.
“We are going to stay focused and head to the drawing board,” said Brown. “We have to clean up the mistakes we made in that game.”
“Our mindset for our next opportunity to get out there and play football is to just play for each other, and to improve as a unit,” added Brown. “We have to play our brand of football, play for each other and the love of the game.”
Lake Stevens will now look to build off their impressive win over O’Dea, as they will face Archbishop Murphy in front of their home crowd next week. Meanwhile, O’Dea will be at bay as their game next week has been cancelled due to Covid-19.