Putting an unfortunate end to a winning season, the Eastside Catholic Crusaders fell to the Kennewick Lions, 14-7, in the 3A semifinal game Saturday evening at Memorial Stadium in Seattle.
The first quarter demonstrated the evenness of the matchup when neither team, both with 10-1 winning records for the season, scored the entire quarter.
The battle was just as difficult during the second quarter as the top-ranked Lion offense battled the number one Crusader defense to put points on the board. Just when it seemed the half would end scoreless, Kennewick caught a break when quarterback Dayton Davis found running back Myles Mayovsky on the right side to sneak into the end zone and put the Lions on the board for a 7-0 lead.
The halftime break brought new energy to the game for both teams. The Lions scored first, capitalizing on a Crusader mistake when defensive back Simeon Howard found himself in the right place at the right time for a pick-6, resulting in a 62-yard interception for a touchdown and a widened 14-0 lead.
But the Crusaders refused to give up the game, drawing down the deficit with a touchdown of their own when running back Chase Hamdan pushed through the Lion defense with a 1-yard rushing touchdown to put Eastside Catholic on the board for their first and only score on the night.
The fourth quarter continued the battle for the end zone and the excitement for the title as the Crusaders got the juices flowing when they broke through the Lion’s defensive line for an 88-yard punt return and touchdown, only to be called back on a holding penalty. With time running out and all hopes dashed, the Crusaders settled for a 14-7 loss and an end to their extraordinary season with a 10-2 record.