As the typical Seattle rain poured, the night was anything but typical when Eastlake seized its first KingCo championship since 2001 in a 21-3 victory against the Bothell Cougars on Thursday evening.
The first quarter was dominated by a back and forth that seemed to go nowhere for both teams. Following a series of downs and great defense on both sides of the ball, possession switched repeatedly before either team scored.
Despite a solid Cougar defense by outside linebacker Jimmy Tucker, Eastlake running backs Blake Borup and Michael Lester managed to make up lost ground. Along with a 15-yard rushing play by quarterback Parker Barrysmith, the Wolves found themselves on the 9-yard line before Bothell regained control of the ball on downs, leaving Eastlake stymied and scoreless once again.
Bothell running back Bryce Kooy put in tremendous effort to push back the Wolves’ defensive line and managed to get to Bothell’s 48-yard line before Eastlake recovered a fumble. With only a few minutes left in the quarter, running back Logan Eller brought the Wolves down field on a key rushing play from the 48-yard line to the 16-yard line. Finally, with only eleven seconds to spare and a well-tested Eastlake offense, Borup maneuvered for a 2-yard rushing touchdown on the left side. A successful extra point gave the Wolves the 7-point lead they were seeking.
The second quarter, like the first, remained a seesaw battle, with both teams hungry for the coveted KingCo title. Following several downs with little gain focused on midfield, Peterson finally broke loose with a several dozen yard run to the Cougar end of the field before getting tackled by Bothell outside linebacker Mingo Lemley. On their next touchdown pass attempt, the Wolves fell short when the Bothell defense knocked the ball away for an incomplete pass.
During the tussle, Lester injured his leg and had to be helped off the field. Down a key player and with only 4:04 remaining, the Wolves refused to give in to the Bothell defense. On a 1-yard dash, Borup broke into the end zone for his second touchdown of the night. The point after touchdown gave the Wolves the 14-0 advantage.
With only a few minutes remaining in the half, the Cougars battled to put points on the board and reduce the Wolves lead. After working their way down field, just as the quarter was about to end, Bothell kicker Charlie Shulkin added an impressive 46-yard field goal to finish the first half 14-3, preventing a first half shutout.
The second half would start with a little more excitement than the first. Just two minutes into the quarter, wide receiver Will Eaton caught a punt and ran more than 40 yards to reach the end zone. Due to an Eastlake holding penalty, the play was called back.
However, this was the momentum the Wolves were looking for. From midfield, Barrysmith found wide receiver Griffin Miller for a 37-yard pass. Lester, back from his injury, chewed up the field to reach the 8-yard line despite cagey maneuvers from Bothell defensive back Sam Stewart. After a series of downs and a recovered fumble, Borup finally launched through a tough Cougar defensive line for a 4-yard rushing touchdown with 7:14 left in the quarter.
As both teams battled hard for the remainder of the quarter, there was no movement on the field or the scoreboard. The third quarter ended with a 21-3 lead for the Wolves.
As the rain intensified, the fourth quarter was nothing but gridlock. A determined Bothell defense pressured Eastlake to turn over possession on downs multiple times, but they could not reach the Wolves’ end zone no matter how hard they tried. Before the Cougars could add to the board, the game sounded to a close, allowing Eastlake to take home the 21-3 victory and savor their night as champions.
Eastlake (9-0) will be playing against Curtis (5-5) on Friday, November 5, for a home non-conference game starting at 7:00 p.m.