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Graham-Kapowsin holds off Emerald Ridge in 4A SPSL clash, 3 takeaways

Top-ranked Eagles overcome 14-point deficit in first half, defense stands strong to stop No. 6 Jaguars in end zone on final play

PUYALLUP, Wash. - All top-ranked Graham-Kapowsin High School needed was a little spark.

Down by two touchdowns early to Emerald Ridge, the Eagles got that spark on a 63-yard touchdown in the second quarter when wide receiver Jabez Woods hauled in a pass from Daveon Superales off a tipped ball and raced to the end zone.

Graham-Kapowsin later tied the game at on a 32-yard catch by Malachi Durant from Superales.

What followed was a back-and-forth affair between the Eagles and Jaguars with both teams trading scores for the rest of the contest.

A 24-yard pass from Superales to Woods with 41/2 minutes remaining proved to be the game-winner for the Eagles, who clinched the 4A SPSL title with the 41-35 win at Sparks Stadium.

Graham-Kapowsin stopped sixth-ranked Emerald Ridge inside the Eagles' 10-yard line at the end of the game to seal the win.

Superales finished the game with six total touchdowns (four passing, two rushing). Woods and Durant hauled in two receiving touchdowns each.

Emerald Ridge quarterback Jake Schakel threw for four touchdowns and running back Navarre Dixon had a rushing score. Malakai Harris led the Jaguars with two receiving touchdowns.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

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IN A GAME FULL OF OFFENSE, DEFENSE SEALED DEAL FOR EAGLES

Fans of offense were in luck for this one.

With nearly 80 total points scored between the two teams, points were put on the board just about every drive, but with the game on the line, it was the Eagles' defense that put the game away.

"That was a huge maturing moment for our defense to do the right thing, really," Graham-Kapowsin coach Jeff Logan said. "For us to get three to four plays down there where they're taking shots at the end zone and all of our kids make plays – that speaks volumes to growth at the end of the day."

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ADVERSITY NOT A PROBLEM 

After Graham-Kapowsin's first drive stalled out around midfield, it wasn't long before the Eagles found themselves behind on the scoreboard.

Emerald Ridge put the first 14 points on the board, but Graham-Kapowsin didn't flinch, scoring 14 consecutive points to tie things up in the first half.

"We were down 14-0...but that's just a little bit of adversity," Graham-Kapowsin wide receiver Jabez Woods said. "When you face adversity you're really going to get your money."

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WOODS' TIPPED-PASS TOUCHDOWN TURNS TIDES

Facing a third-and-long, it looked like the Emerald Ridge defense was on its way to getting the Eagles offense off the field and gettings its own offense back out there to possible build on its lead.

Even with the ball nearing its intended receiver in double-coverage, the Jaguars' defense got a hand on it, but a perfect sequence for Graham-Kapowsin unfolded with Woods in the right place to haul it in off the tip and sprint the rest of the way to the end zone.

"That one was a tough one," Emerald Ridge coach Adam Schakel said. "That one hurt and I kind of felt like we made a mistake.

"Someone's gotta win and someone's gotta lose, but I'm super proud of my guys."

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2023 Washington high school football: Graham-Kapowsin at Emerald Ridge
2023 Washington high school football: Graham-Kapowsin at Emerald Ridge
2023 Washington high school football: Graham-Kapowsin at Emerald Ridge
2023 Washington high school football: Graham-Kapowsin at Emerald Ridge
2023 Washington high school football: Graham-Kapowsin at Emerald Ridge
2023 Washington high school football: Graham-Kapowsin at Emerald Ridge
2023 Washington high school football: Graham-Kapowsin at Emerald Ridge
2023 Washington high school football: Graham-Kapowsin at Emerald Ridge