Lake Washington head coach Andy Arena, second from left, speaks with the Kangs following Friday night’s loss. Andy Nystrom / staff photo

Lake Washington head coach Andy Arena, second from left, speaks with the Kangs following Friday night’s loss. Andy Nystrom / staff photo

Lake Washington ends season with 3A state football playoff loss

Eastside Catholic beats Kangs in first round.

Lake Washington High head coach Andy Arena gathered his football team for one last huddle after Friday night’s loss in the opening round of the 3A state playoffs.

It was an emotional one.

On the icy Memorial Stadium field in Seattle after losing to top-seeded Eastside Catholic, 42-12, Arena told the Kangs he was proud of their performance this season as they wiped tears and eye black from their battle-worn faces. After the talk, Arena told the Kangs to go and visit with and thank their families and friends for the support they gave them this fall.

This LW team won four of its last five games and was the first Kang squad to make the state playoffs since 2003. The Kangs finished the season 4-7.

“After those six weeks, it’s really impressive to see how our team is still able to bring it together,” said senior Brady Gockel of the 0-6 start. “No guys lost hope and it shows the brotherhood that’s at Lake Washington football, for sure. We’re a family here and we care about each other and we work hard together.”

Highlights for LW — seeded 16th in the playoffs — on Friday were a 35-yard touchdown run by quarterback Jakson Voelker, who left and valiantly returned to the game twice following an Eastside Catholic illegal tackle and a leg injury; a 14-yard TD run by Nick Anderson; copious stellar catches from Evan Liggett, including a fully extended diving grab; and smothering tackles by Ryan Thompson, Gockel and a host of others.

LW constructed a lengthy drive in the first quarter starting from its own 20, which featured a bevy of runs by James Gardner, but were held short on fourth down at the Eastside Catholic 29. The Crusaders led 7-0 after the first quarter and 21-0 at halftime.

Gardner, a junior, said his solid team was excited to earn a spot in the state playoffs. The Kangs know what they’re capable of achieving and he can’t wait for the team to display its talent again next season.

“We gave it our best the whole game and we really showed ‘em that we were here to play,” Gardner said. “We had a few good ones and we showed ‘em we have some players that can do some things on our team, too.”

Lake Washington’s Evan Liggett rolls up field after making a catch. Photo courtesy of Shannon Soleil Rene

Lake Washington’s Evan Liggett rolls up field after making a catch. Photo courtesy of Shannon Soleil Rene

The Kang defense puts the clamps on an Eastside Catholic foe. Photo courtesy of Shannon Soleil Rene

The Kang defense puts the clamps on an Eastside Catholic foe. Photo courtesy of Shannon Soleil Rene

More in Sports

Nailing dives and making friends at Lake Washington

Junior Richter thrives in the air and on the ground.

Former Juanita High star Ahmed headed for the NFL draft

Running back completes solid UW career.

Lake Washington Junior Kang football program needs donations

The Lake Washington Junior Kang football program has begun restructuring its youth… Continue reading

The Classics 2020/2021 and 2022/2023 teams both won first-place medals in the Elite A and Elite B divisions at the Strucktown Showdown tournament on Dec. 15 in Oregon. Courtesy photo
Kirkland’s Chinn shines for Classics lacrosse squad

Kirkland’s Bryson Chinn recently delivered a key goal on the lacrosse scene.… Continue reading

Last year kept us busy, looking forward to more action in 2020

After filing my final story of the year at noon on Dec.… Continue reading

KingCo football players notch all-state honors

Seven KingCo football standouts were selected to the Associated Press all-state teams… Continue reading

Northwest University’s Travis scores first-team Academic All-America honor

Striker netted 12 goals and had five assists this season.

Kangs are set for action

Lake Washington’s Ben Nyquist fights for a rebound during a recent matchup… Continue reading

Adams II signs on to play football at the University of Washington

Sam Adams II of Kirkland signed his letter of intent on Dec.… Continue reading

2019: The year in sports for the Kirkland area

Athletic success is a staple of the local community.

Fourth-quarter surge leads Lake Washington past Interlake, 53-42

The Lake Washington girls basketball team (1-2) pulled away in the fourth… Continue reading

Rebels and Kangs are hitting the hardwood

Boys and girls squads jump into KingCo play.