Jakson Voelker was so keyed up after the game that he couldn’t remember how many touchdowns he ran for during Lake Washington’s 42-14 victory over crosstown rival Juanita on Nov. 1.
He thought it was three, but the senior quarterback actually blasted into the end zone four times — including an epic 74-yarder — and threw for one touchdown as the Kangs notched the 2A/3A KingCo title with a 4-1 league record. Bellevue was 5-0, but the Wolverines are in their final season of sanctions and can’t win the league crown.
Both Kirkland teams will compete in the playoffs, with Juanita taking on Squalicum at 7 p.m. Nov. 8 at Civic Stadium in Bellingham and LW playing Seattle Prep at 7 p.m. Nov. 9 at Memorial Stadium in Seattle.
Juanita held a 14-7 lead following Keegan Eby’s blocked-punt recovery in the end zone late in the second quarter. Voelker’s 4-yard run with six seconds remaining in the half knotted the game at 14-14 at the break.
LW took control of the contest in the second half.
“We knew we could come out here, we knew we could take over this game. We knew we had the talent and that’s what happens when we apply ourselves,” Voelker said.
On his mammoth touchdown run, Voelker noted with a smile: “I saw a gap and I went right through it, ran as fast as I could.”
The Kang signal caller also ran for scores of 7 yards and 6 yards and threw a 24-yard touchdown strike to Evan Liggett. Running back James Gardner started the Kangs’ scoring with a 2-yard run to put them ahead 7-0 with 10:07 left in the second quarter.
For Juanita, running back Brayden Brown punched the ball into the end zone from 4 yards out to tie the score at 7-7 with 2:38 remaining in the second quarter.
First-year Juanita head coach Jared Carter said he’s proud of the way the Rebels have played this season and he’s excited for the playoffs and the future of the program.
“We’ve got a great group of kids. They work their tails off every day, they’ve bought in to everything we’ve been teaching, everything we’ve been about in this program. It’s been a lot of change for them, so it’s been hard in the beginning. They’ve given us everything they’ve got,” Carter said.
On the Kang side, head coach Andy Arena first handed the LW flag over to a player before praising his squad.
“I think we’ve just gotten better as the year’s gone on, they (Juanita) have, too. This time of year, I think you kind of know your identity once you get going,” said Arena, noting that the Kangs’ line has played well along with copious other players. They make the coaches look good, he added with a smile.
As he looked around the field and at the fans exiting the grandstands, Voelker noted that he enjoys playing in the LW-Juanita rivalry games.
“It’s a lot of competition, a lot of talk-back, but it’s all just talk. We’re all just having fun and we’re all friends,” he said.
After Eby finished taking his senior photo and visiting with his family members, he spoke about what it means to be a part of the Juanita program.
“It’s all about hard work. You can’t take a play off or it’s gonna go right down your throat,” he said.
The senior Rebel was thrilled to score his first touchdown: “It was exhilarating, I always wanted to score a touchdown. I just didn’t want it to go out the other side (of the end zone). I wanted to make sure I got the touchdown.”