Wishkah loses shootout to Lopez Island

LOPEZ ISLAND — Withstanding a late Wishkah assault, Lopez Island held off the ailing Loggers, 46-44, in a non-league football game Saturday at Lopez.

Down 40-22 in the second half, the Loggers (1-1) used a Keigan Gardiner-Robert Rodriguez passing combination and the recovery of three onside kicks to rally.

They closed the deficit to two on a 15-yard Gardiner to Rodriguez scoring pass with about four minutes remaining, but failed to make the tying 2-point conversion.

Regaining possession with slightly more than one minute left, they drove to the Lobo 18-yard line but wound up losing the ball on downs.

Gardiner was shifted from running back to a shotgun quarterback when starting QB Jace Anderson suffered a concussion in the first half. The Loggers also had several other players sub-par physically.

“We had the flu bug going around and we had five or six players greener than the grass they were playing on,” Wishkah coach Mike Mitchell said.

Playing what Mitchell termed the finest game of his career, Rodriguez caught five passes for 103 yards. He had TD receptions of 15, 6 and 6 yards.

Tight end Dillon Mitchell, with seven catches, contributed a 20-yard TD reception from Anderson and a 10-yard scoring hookup from Gardiner. He also recovered two of the onside kicks.

Gardiner ran 32 yards for Wishkah’s first touchdown.

Lopez Island, meanwhile, also did most of its damage through the air.

“The goal in this game was to pick up our passing game and we did it, but they also did that. They had a very good passing offense,” Mitchell noted. “Our bench was phenomenal. We played kids who haven’t had a lot of playing time and they stepped up.”

Gardiner threw for 149 yards. Bo Barber led Wishkah ball-carriers with 94 yards on 12 rushes.

The Loggers host rival Lake Quinault on Saturday.