Second half dominance was the difference for the Mercer Island Islanders football team in their KingCo 3A matchup on the road against the Interlake Saints.
Interlake sophomore quarterback Charlie Galanti connected with wide receiver Tyler Zumek on a 15-yard touchdown pass as time expired in the first half, giving the Saints a 13-10 lead at halftime.
Mercer Island outscored Interlake 20-7 in the second half en route to a 30-20 victory on Sept. 30 at Interlake High School in Bellevue. The Islanders improved their overall record to 3-1 with the win. Interlake dropped to 1-4 with the loss. Interlake’s final touchdown, which was scored on a 28-yard touchdown catch by Myles Chandler, occurred with just 29 seconds left in game. Interlake’s first score of the game came on a Blake Hall 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Mercer Island senior quarterback Nikhil Nayar had three touchdown passes in the victory. Nayar was composed, poised and displayed stoic command throughout the duration of the night. The Islanders had several dropped passes in the first half but not many passes hit the artificial turf in the second half.
“They flipped the switch. They caught everything I threw to them. It was amazing to watch,” Nayar said of his receiving corps.
Interlake head coach Brian Hartline admitted his team is struggling on the offensive side of the ball.
“We’re trying some things and we’re trying to find ourselves. It is an uphill battle right now but we’re going to find it at some point in the season,” Hartline said.
Mercer Island head coach Ed Slezinger was glad his team recovered from a first half in which they were trailing by three points at halftime.
“The first half was rough. At halftime we (coaches) talked to them and got them calmed down. In the second half they were in the right place mentally. It was about staying calm and playing the way that we always play,” Slezinger said. “It is just executing what we asked them to do all week and that’s exactly what they did. I commend them for that. They did a great job.”
The Saints will face the Bellevue Wolverines at 7 p.m. on Oct. 6 at Bellevue High School.
“We’ll just go out and get prepared like we would for any other game. They are an incredible organization and program. There is no doubt about it. I have the utmost respect for them,” Hartline said. “We just got to go out there and get the kids prepared. We will play hard. That is what we’re going to do this week.”