LUNA LANDING ― La Conner’s Budda Luna, shown above splitting three defenders, helped tame the Concrete Lions on Friday with over 150 yards total offense and four scores. It was an out-of-this-world kind of performance for Luna, who ran twice for touchdowns, caught a TD pass from James Hulbert, and returned a punt for six points. He also booted a half dozen conversion kicks as the Braves won easily at home 62-21 to sweep their season series with Concrete. – Photo by Lauren Reynolds
(LC) – Kaden Murdock five-yard run; PAT failed. (2).
(LC) – Brady Nelson 37-yard pass from James Hulbert; Budda Luna kick. (2).
(LC) – Budda Luna 55-yard pass from James Hulbert; Budda Luna kick. (2).
(LC) – Budda Luna 60-yard punt return; PAT failed. (3).
(LC) – Kaden Murdock three-yard run; Budda Luna kick. (3).
(LC) – Budda Luna 90-yard run; Jeffrey Johnson run. (3).
(LC) – Kaden Murdock 51-yard run; Budda Luna kick. (3).
Individual Braves stat leaders:
Budda Luna 5/99-YDS, 2 TDS
Kaden Murdock 5/72-YDS, 3 TDS
Brady Nelson 4/23-YDS
James Hulbert 3/2-YDS
Rest Of Team 3/3-YDS
James Hulbert 8-12-249-YDS, 3 TDS
Jeffrey Johnson 4/100-YDS
Brady Nelson 3/94-YDS, 2 TDS
Budda Luna 1/55-YDS, 1 TD
La Conner High head football coach Peter Voorhees knew going in that beating an improved Concrete team a second time in five weeks would be no trip down Easy Street. That even though the Braves had flattened Concrete 60-0 on the road in September. Sure enough, the spirited Lions blocked La Conner’s path to another NW2B grid title with a few speed bumps for a while. But not so many that the Braves weren’t able to ultimately take the checkered flag before a loud and supportive Senior Night crowd at Whittaker Field. La Conner, which trailed 21-20 as late as the second period, did more roaring than the Lions as the game progressed. The Braves, in fact, roared back with 48 unanswered points to secure a convincing 62-21 triumph. With the win, La Conner improved to 5-0 in conference play and 6-1 overall with a rescheduled matchup at Darrington tentatively set for Friday. The Braves were able, however, to at least briefly savor the lopsided victory over their Skagit County and league rivals. There was, indeed, much to savor. La Conner quarterback James Hulbert turned in a stellar performance, completing eight of 12 passes for 249 yards and three touchdowns, two to Brady Nelson and another to Budda Luna. Jeffrey Johnson was also a favorite target, reeling in four Hulbert tosses for an even 100 yards. Luna, meanwhile, enjoyed the type of well-rounded effort that has become his forte. He rushed five times for a team-high 99 yards, reaching paydirt twice. He added a special teams score by returning a Concrete punt 60 yards to ignite a decisive 28-0 La Conner eruption in the third frame. Kaden Murdock sparked La Conner’s power run game, bulling 72 yards on five carries, highlighted by a 51-yard TD burst in which he romped over several would-be tacklers. Still, there was little indication in the early going that the Braves would run over Concrete. The Lions got on the board first via a Blaine Storms five-yard run. La Conner answered courtesy a short Luna touchdown plunge. Concrete went back in front, at 14-7, when Marshall Fichter raced 90 yards to the end zone early in the second quarter. The Braves knotted the count at 14-14 when Hulbert hooked up with Nelson on a 45-yard pass play. But back came Concrete. The Lions reclaimed the lead at 21-14 when Concrete signal caller Tyler Labrousse connected with Storms on an 18-yard touchdown strike. Murdock responded with the first of his three TDs, a five-yard ramble that pulled the Braves to within 21-20. La Conner didn’t stop there. The Braves seized their first lead of the night when Hulbert found Nelson again, this time with a 37-yard touchdown pass. La Conner took a more comfortable 34-21 lead at the break after a 55-yard Hulbert-to-Luna scoring toss. La Conner broke the game open with four touchdowns---two each by Luna and Murdock---in the third quarter. The Braves stop unit came up big after intermission. Luna and Murdock played key roles there as well. Luna led the Braves with seven solo stops. He assisted on three others. Murdock recorded five unassisted tackles and took part in nine all told. Nick Reece, Cooper Zavala, Michael Page, Kolbe Rasler, Darren George, Trey Casey, Harley Hulbert, James Hulbert, and Terrance Fornsby also landed on the La Conner hit parade. Fornsby likewise made his presence felt with a pair of interceptions. Despite its quick start, the night ended in a long ride home for Concrete. The Braves, on the other hand, remained firmly entrenched in the NW2B driver’s seat and are now free to plan what they hope will be a long sojourn through the post-season bracket. In a related note: • Senior Night festivities honor-ed La Conner High senior football players and cheerleaders. Parents were formally recognized, and moms presented with flowers.