Coming off a loss against Skyline last week, the question going into Friday was whether the Eastlake Wolves could find that spark that led them to the state playoffs last year.
After a slow start by both teams, the Wolves set aside those doubts, crushing the Issaquah Eagles 54-13.
It looked shaky for Eastlake at the start of the game. On the opening kickoff, Grady Woodward fumbled on the return and Issaquah recovered. The Eagles made it costly for the Wolves, punching it in for the game’s first touchdown and 6-0 lead after the extra point was blocked by Colby Marsh.
Both teams settled into a rhythm and for a while, it was a close game. With 7:06 remaining in the first quarter, a rushing touchdown from Eastlake quarterback Cole Hunt and the extra point put Eastlake up 7-6.
The defense ended Issaquah’s next possession with an interception by Hunt, who was playing as a free safety. Eastlake was unable to get into the end zone, but a successful Alex Dreher field goal boosted them to 10-6.
Issaquah responded immediately with a long bomb to Spencer Blumenthal for a 71-yard touchdown, quickly taking back the lead. With the extra point by Joshua Kim, the Eagles were up 13-10 to end the first quarter.
Then the Wolves kicked it into high gear. On their next possession, Eastlake’s Woodward took a short reception and out maneuvered a defender to reach the end zone. The extra point attempt hit the upright, and the Wolves settled for 16-13 lead.
They never looked back.
Blake Borup broke a touchdown run through the Eagle defense with 2:49 left in the half, increasing the Wolves lead to 23-13.
Capitalizing on an Eagles fumble, Carter Thompson recovered the ball for the Wolves, allowing Hunt to throw a long touchdown bomb to Woodward, widening the lead to 30-13.
With outstanding defense from Andrew Painter, Owen Coomes, and a sack by Thompson, Eastlake gained possession of the ball. With just 2.2 seconds left on the clock on the 30-yard line, the Wolves brought in the field goal team for an additional three points to end the first half at 33-13.
Eastlake continued to fire on all cylinders in the second half. Balazs Dancshazy picked off a long pass intended for Issaquah’s Blumenthal at the 35-yard line, returning the ball to the Wolves. This set up another Borup run into the end zone, increasing the lead to 40-13.
Later in the third quarter, a bullet pass up the middle to Woodward gave the Wolves a 47-13 advantage.
With a comfortable margin secured, Eastlake sent in the second string for some playing time in the fourth quarter, adding one more touchdown to the board when Asir Jackson crossed into the end zone to bring the score to 54-13, putting the final nail into the Eagles’ coffin.
The game was overshadowed by a severe injury on the Issaquah side, which delayed the game by 25 minutes in the third quarter. The Eagles’ offensive lineman Tristan Henson-Larson suffered a dislocated hip during play, according to game commentators.
After a lengthy evaluation on the ground, he was taken off the field by paramedics on a stretcher to the hospital. He will likely be out for the rest of the season.