In a suspenseful but slow-to-start football game, the Eastlake Wolves added another home victory to their record with a 28-18 win against the Woodinville Falcons.
Play began slowly for both teams as they struggled to find their groove. The Falcons won the coin toss and received the opening kickoff. They slowly made their way downfield, somewhat hampered only by Wolves defender Jacob Arens’ successive tackles.
After a series of small gains, the Falcons found themselves in scoring position at third-and-goal with 5 yards remaining. But Wolves defender Connor Ware reacted quickly and decisively to tip Levi Grothen’s pass away, forcing the Falcons to settle for a field goal and the 3-0 lead.
The Wolves fought hard to answer the Falcons’ success but found themselves thwarted at every turn. Adding insult to injury, Falcons defender Gabe Porter managed to sack Wolves quarterback Landon Renfroe, forcing the home team to punt and end the first quarter with nothing to show for their efforts and a 3-0 deficit.
But the Wolves gained traction and changed their trajectory in the second quarter. With a series of well-planned offensive plays, Renfroe finally managed a stunning red zone pass to Marcus Angiuli, putting his team on the board to take the lead and close the half, 7-3.
The halftime break reenergized the Falcons for the challenge as they took the field to open the third quarter. Fighting hard to advance downfield, Casey Larson ran the ball up the middle–not once but twice, gaining just enough to put the Falcons in striking distance. On the next play, Grothen found Ryan Bowles in the end zone, giving the Falcons their first touchdown of the game and a reclaimed lead, 10-7.
With posession of the ball and a few minutes left on the clock, the Wolves advanced, starting with a completion to Caden Cross bolstered by a personal foul on Bowles that found the Wolves at first-and-10 on the 49-yard line. With a much-needed completion to Grady Woodward and two rushing plays by RJ Abedi, the Wolves were at the 1-yard line with 1.4 seconds on the clock to mark the end of the third quarter.
Switching field direction to open the final quarter, Abedi scored the Wolves’ second touchdown of the night, eating up only 6 seconds on the clock, for a quick 1-yard run. With the extra point from kicker Alex Dreher, the lead reversed once again, 14-10, Wolves.
After two incomplete passes, the Falcon’s fourth down punt soared out of bounds at the 37-yard line, giving control back to the Wolves, who knew they needed to score for a more comfortable lead, and they did not disappoint. Abedi once again shone with a series of successful rushing gains for the Wolves.
Paired with a completion to Bryson Hodges, the Wolves found themselves in scoring position at the 2-yard line. Abedi ran the ball again only to be stopped just short, at the 1-yard line, forcing one more play. Keeping the ball on the ground, Renfroe handed off to Jack Edmunds to widen the gap, 21-10, providing a comforting lead for the Wolves.
With several minutes remaining, the Falcons knew that if they answered quickly, they could stay in the game. Keeping the excitement going, Grothen completed a long pass to Larson to put the Falcons in scoring position at the 2-yard line. On two separate rushing plays, with a 1-yard gain on each, Chase Rudin managed to punch into the end zone, bringing the Falcons closer, 21-16.
Determined to get their lead back, the Falcons considered a longshot but possible winning strategy and handed Rudin the ball, once again. They managed to complete a 2-point conversion, closing the gap at 21-18.
But the Wolves were not having it and shot up the field with vengeance. Abedi secured yet another touchdown for Eastlake with a 40-yard run up the middle, securing the Wolves victory, 28-18.
Eastlake will play Lake Stevens at home for the Wolves homecoming game on Friday, October 6 at 7 p.m.