Eastside Catholic trounced the Ballard Beavers, 49-0, to end the regular season with an impressive 6-1 record.
Both teams brought the fight to the field in what looked to be a fair match-up to start the game. With excellent Beaver defense from defensive end Jadairion Smith and corner back Terrelle Hearn, the game remained scoreless for the first eight minutes. Then, Eastside Catholic’s Nico Ursino intercepted the Ballard quarterback and returned it 25 yards for the opening touchdown. The extra point put the Crusaders up 7-0 with 3:44 left in the quarter, and the Crusaders’ route began.
Eastside Catholic scored again two-and-a-half minutes into the second quarter when Brady McKelheer connected with running back Masen Uribe on a short pass for the touchdown, giving them a 14-point lead.
Four minutes later, the Crusaders struck again, with a long bomb from McKelheer hitting wide receiver Andrew Martorano in stride for the touchdown. Eastside Catholic had found their rhythm and boasted a 21-point advantage.
But the Beavers did not give up. Their defense made the Crusaders work for their next score led by plays from Macklin Recchi and Adam Jacobs. However, the Crusaders resorted to their ground game with plenty of carries by running back Arnav Rajashekara and got into the end zone once again to widen the gap 28-0.
Eastside Catholic got the ball back with less than a minute left in the half but did not rest on their laurels. After a couple incompletions, they scored again on another perfect long pass from McKelheer down the right sideline, once again hitting Martorano in stride to bring the score to 35-0 at the half. The Beavers needed a new strategy.
The Crusaders came out pumped and ready to go following the break. With less than one minute ticked off the clock, Eastside Catholic scored their sixth touchdown of the night when running back Chase Hamdan showed his speed and blew through the Ballard defenders and into the end zone on a 55-yard run that made it 42-0.
With the Crusaders’ second string now on field for some game experience, the Beavers had a chance to regroup and find the end zone, but they just could not break the blue wall. When defensive end Cody Steele forced a Beaver fumble, the Crusaders recovered and capitalized. Jake Tiryakioglu connected with tight end Gabe Hoffmann for another Crusader touchdown to pad their insurmountable lead, bringing the score to 49-0.
While the Beavers came close to scoring near the end of the game, they ran out of time as the Crusaders defense held them a few yards shy of the end zone to preserve their shutout. With consistent plays from Crusaders including Peter Taoipu, Charlie Merritt, Dallas Daley, David Lene, LJ Imo and Connor Boehl, Ballard never got on the board and the game ended with a 49-0 Crusaders victory. Eastside Catholic now waits to see who they will face in the playoffs.