In the semifinal round of the 4A state football tournament, the Eastlake Wolves fell short in a 45-28 loss against the Lake Stevens Vikings Friday at Pop Keeney Stadium in Bothell.
Eastlake received the opening kickoff to start the game at the 32-yard line. Battling a strong Viking defense, it looked as though the first quarter would be a stalemate, but the Wolves managed to break through with a pass from quarterback Parker Barrysmith to wide receiver Michael Kistner. A completion from Barrysmith to tight end Will Woodward in the end zone gave Eastlake the opening points.
Unwilling to be bested, the Vikings surged to the 50-yard line on the kick return. Thanks to efforts by Lake Stevens running back Jayden Limar, the Vikings quickly found themselves at the Eastlake 24-yard line. Despite attempts to halt the Viking advance from defensive end Kai Lane and safety Will Eaton, Limar found the end zone with a rushing touchdown to tie the score seven all.
Eastlake took back possession but found the Viking defense unrelenting. After a small gain to just the 30-yard line, the Wolves were forced to punt.
The Lake Stevens offense faced the same problem — an unrelenting Eastlake defense. A block from Cole Hunt gave Eastlake control of the ball right in front of the Viking red zone. Not squandering the opportunity, running back Jack Peterson ploughed through the Viking defense and gave Eastlake the lead to end the quarter at 14-7.
The second quarter found the Vikings doggedly resolved to get ahead. Within minutes, Lake Stevens penetrated the Eastlake end zone with 9:04 on the clock thanks to Limar once again.
The Vikings then drove down field and added a field goal to inch past the Wolves, 17-14.
A few minutes later, the Vikings’ TK Perkins recovered an Eastlake fumble one the Wolves’ 10-yard line. Fortunately for Eastlake, Lake Stevens came close but was unable to capitalize when the Wolves blocked the field goal attempt.
With Eastlake back in control of the ball, running back Michael Lester surged to the Eastlake 40-yard line. Seconds later, a pass from Barrysmith to wide receiver Noah Weintraub put Eastlake back in the lead.
Unfortunately, the advantage was short-lived when a series of short passes saw the Vikings push to the 13-yard line with just 30 seconds remaining in the half. After an end zone pass was called back on penalties, quarterback Grayson Murren connected with running back Trayce Hanks to end the half 24-21, Vikings.
The third quarter was hard fought, with both teams focused heavily on defense. Eventually, a drained Viking offense managed to slog downfield. A short connection to wide receiver Drew Carter found Lake Stevens in scoring position on the 9-yard line. A handoff to running back Jayshon Limar gave Lake Stevens the only touchdown of the quarter.
Eastlake running back Michael Lester later found a hole and broke through the middle to end the quarter on the Lake Stevens 1-yard line.
As the fourth quarter opened, with the Wolves in scoring position, Blake Borup forced his way into the end zone to tighten the gap 31-28, Lake Stevens.
But the Vikings took control of the game after that last Eastlake touchdown. Murren found Carter with a pass in the end zone, padding the Viking advantage once again.
An additional Viking touchdown by Jayshon Linmar wrapped the game up at 45-28, handing Eastlake its first and final loss of the 2021 season.
Lake Stevens will advance to the state championship game against Graham-Kapowsin on Saturday, December 4, at 4:00 p.m. The game will be played at Mount Tacoma High School.