The Eastside Catholic Crusaders defeated the Mt. Spokane Wildcats on Saturday, 38-14, to secure a spot in the 3A semifinals against Kennewick.
Both teams fought hard to put points on the board in the first quarter, but defenses kept the game close. After a hard-fought battle to get down field, the Crusaders were forced to go for a 39-yard field goal. Making it look easy, kicker Carson Russell put the Crusaders on the board for the 3-0 lead.
Wildcat wide receiver Blake Speer then snaked past the Crusaders’ defense to score a touchdown. The extra point gave the Wildcats the 7-3 advantage to close the first quarter.
Unwilling to fall behind, the Crusaders regrouped with vengeance, crossing into the end zone thrice in the second quarter. With touchdowns from wide receivers Dallas Daley, Drew Sanidad and Andrew Martorano, the Crusaders blew the game open to a 24-7 lead.
Unfortunately for the Crusaders, as their defense was busy looking for the Mt. Spokane quarterback, a fake handoff set Speer free as he was able to evade the Crusaders defense once again, resulting in another touchdown for the Wildcats to close the gap to 24-14 at the half.
The Crusaders kept up the pressure in the third quarter, holding the Wildcats scoreless while further padding their score on a touchdown from wide receiver Dallas Daley. This was his final touchdown in the game, and he finished with a stellar 171 yards on seven catches. This gave the Crusaders a comfortable 31-14 lead.
With both teams exhausted and battling the cold weather, mistakes were bound to happen. On a Wildcat possession, quarterback Kellen Flanigan threw the ball too high to wide receiver Jordan Sands, who tipped it into the air for a Crusader interception by defensive back Tyson Weaver for a 91-yard run and final touchdown of the game — a decisive victory.
Eastside Catholic will face Kennewick for the 3A semifinal game on Saturday, November 27 at 4:00 p.m. The game will be at Memorial Stadium in Seattle.