Friday’s opening game was a tale of the trenches, as Eastlake’s running game, led by running back R.J. Abedi and quarterback Grady Woodward, catapulted the Wolves to a 40-6 rout of the Federal Way Eagles to kick off the season with an impressive victory.
The first quarter was all Wolves, with Eastlake capitalizing on a failed fourth down conversion. R.J. Abedi capped off an excellent second drive by punching it in for a two-yard touchdown to give the Wolves a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter. Not a single passing play was called on the drive, with the rushing attack proving too overwhelming for the Eagles to counter.
After a quick, unproductive turnover on downs, a Federal Way punt began yet another rush-dominated drive that resulted in a quarterback draw from Woodward for a 23-yard touchdown to extend the Wolves’ lead, 14-0. This was the second consecutive drive in which all positive yardage came on running plays and ended the first quarter with a dominant lead for Eastlake.
A long kick return by Federal Way put the Eagles in promising field position at the Eastlake 35-yard line to open the second quarter. A quarterback keeper from Marcell Johnson put the ball on the 8-yard line, setting up the Eagles to answer their early deficit. But, unfortunately for Federal Way, the Wolves defensive line held, forcing a failed fourth down, giving possession back to the Wolves.
After a pass interference call that moved the Wolves up 19 yards, Woodward connected with Bryson Hodges for a 41-yard pass down the middle, putting Eastlake back in scoring position. However, this time, their advance was thwarted as the Eagles’ Andre Jordan Jr. provided a timely interception, preventing a close call and another touchdown.
With a series of fruitless downs and frustrating penalties, Federal Way was unable to change the momentum and capitalize on their good luck. The Eagles were forced to punt to their own 38-yard line.
A screen pass to Abedi set the Wolves up at the 17-yard line, allowing Woodward to keep the ball for his second touchdown scramble of the night. The extra point, from a bobbled snap, was no good and Eastlake settled for a 20-0 lead to end the half.
Federal Way had possession of the ball at their own 15-yard line to start the third quarter. But, sadly for the Eagles, the half-time break did not turn the Eastlake energy as Hodges picked off a deep pass for a return to the Eagles 41-yard line on just the second play of the half. The Wolves wasted no time taking advantage of the turnover as Woodward took the first play of the drive for a long touchdown on a quarterback run to extend the blowout to 27-0.
After another quick four downs for Federal Way, possession returned to the Wolves. Woodward immediately found an open receiver and unleashed a deep bomb to Kade Haroldsen. The 6-foot-2-inch junior, in spectacular fashion, reached over the defender to pull in the ball for a 35-yard gain. Abedi finished the drive with a three-yard rushing touchdown. The missed extra point gave the Wolves a 33-0 lead with half of the third quarter still to go.
With so much time remaining, it was inevitable that Eastlake would add to their lead. Asir Jackson entered the game at running back and marched the Wolves to the goal line, where he plunged into the end zone for a two-yard rushing touchdown. The Wolves now had a commanding 40-0 lead to close the third quarter.
Finding purchase late in the final quarter, the Eagles finally broke the shutout with a much needed, exceptional 94-yard touchdown reception. The receiver broke two tackles on the way to the end zone for a spectacular end-to-end run to make sure Federal Way avoided a shutout with a 40-6 score after missing the extra point. Eastlake brought home the resounding win to open its 2023 season.
The Wolves play at Mount Tahoma on Friday, Sept. 8, at 7:00 p.m.