Eastlake eliminates Sumner after a competitive first half
In the second round of 4A state football tournament, Eastlake delivered its twelfth victory against Sumner 46-29. The Wolves now move onto the final four and another step closer to a state title.
Both teams were strong coming out of the gates. The Spartans received the kickoff to open the battle at their 31-yard line. Minutes later, Eastlake took control after a quick 3-and-out. The Wolves did not fare any better, returning possession to the Spartans at the 40-yard line with the realization that this would be a tougher matchup than their shutout in the first round.
Just as the Spartans were gearing up for an offensive push, Eastlake safety Nathaniel Birchfield foiled the plan with a stretched-out, diving interception. A pass to Will Eaton proved productive as he ran the ball to the Sumner 21-yard line before being tackled by defensive back Jalen Jordan. Another completion to Eaton put the Wolves at the 6-yard line, but an impenetrable Spartan defense forced the Wolves to settle for a field goal, which finally put them on the board with 1:38 left in the quarter.
Ten seconds into the second quarter, Spartan wide receiver Isaiah Watkins responded with a kickoff return rushing touchdown. A successful extra point from kicker Wyatt Redding gave Sumner the 7-3 lead.
Both the Spartans and the Wolves defenses fought hard in what looked to be a stalemate when a quarterback sack by defensive lineman Henry Isackson gave the Wolves the momentum they needed. The Wolves worked their way down field for their first touchdown of the game, regaining the lead 10-7.
Eastlake further padded their advantage when a series of downs put them within field goal range. The successful kick upped the score to 13-7, their second field goal of the game.
With four minutes left in the quarter, a punt to the Eastlake 8-yard line provided the Wolves one more opportunity. A pass to wide receiver Griffin Miller in midfield and another completion to tight end Will Woodward put the ball on the 13-yard line with seconds remaining. Unable to break the Sumner defense, the Wolves settled for another field goal to finish the first half 16-7.
The offenses for both teams lit up in the third quarter. A rush from Eaton and running back Michael Lester brought the Wolves down field. Another completion to Weintraub put Eastlake at the 15-yard line. Unable to reach the end zone, the Wolves were forced to settle for a fourth field goal for a score of 19-7.
The rest of the quarter saw back-and-forth touchdowns. The Spartans responded shortly when quarterback Bo Carlson rushed in for a touchdown, closing the deficit 19-14.
Not to be outdone, Eastlake immediately answered when Will Eaton caught a 4-yard pass in the end zone to buffer the Wolves advantage 26-14.
Of course, the Spartans would not let this slide and followed up with another rushing touchdown when fullback Erick Buck penetrated the Eastlake defense for a score of 26-21.
With only one minute left in the quarter, the Sumner kicker did his job well with a kick that saw Eastlake start at their 1-yard line. Undaunted, Barrysmith connected with Weintraub, who ran for 99 yards for a touchdown that increased Eastlake’s lead once again to 33-21.
The Wolves opened the final quarter in dramatic fashion when Barrysmith threw for a 28-yard touchdown pass to Woodward. A missed extra point meant the score remained 39-21.
Barrysmith threw for 408 yards in total and set the school record for passing yards in a single game. He also tied the season record for touchdown passes with 30.
Top receivers Eaton, Woodward and Weintraub each scored a touchdown in this game, and hit 138, 85, and 125 yards in receptions respectively.
The Spartans battled to close the gap and soon found themselves in the red zone once again. Unfortunately for Sumner, the Wolves capitalized with double coverage for an unexpected pick-6 and a spectacular 100-yard run when defensive back Colby Marsh ran the distance, padding the Eastlake score.
Unwilling to let down their guard, Eastlake shifted focus during the remaining time to defense. Despite the Wolves’ efforts, the Spartans managed to score another rushing touchdown. A successful two-point conversion from Carlson to tight end Ryler Auvil narrowed the deficit to 46-29.
Eastlake was able to reach the Spartan red zone with less than 2 minutes left. The game closed with Eastlake taking a knee to run out the clock and end the game.
Eastlake (12-0) will play against Lake Stevens (10-0), a team that they were scheduled to play earlier in the season but was cancelled because of a COVID-19 outbreak. This semifinal playoff game will be on Saturday, November 27, at 1:00 p.m. at Pop Keeney Stadium.