Eastlake football’s campaign for its first state title continued with 21-18 defeat of Sumner Saturday. The thrilling game was a full-on test for the Wolves, and a preview of the tough teams they will face for the remainder of the postseason.
The game began with the opening kickoff to the Eastlake Wolves as they faced an aggressive Sumner Spartans attack from the very first play. While possession alternated on downs throughout the quarter, the Spartans kept constant pressure and managed to put points on the board with a field goal for a 3-0 lead to end the first quarter.
Sumner had a lucky break just three plays into the second quarter when they grabbed an Eastlake fumble by RJ Abedi. However, that would be the only break for Sumner during the second quarter. As the Spartans inched their way down field, just shy of the goal line, Eastlake found payback with a fumble recovery of their own at the 31-yard line. This time, the Wolves’ possession resulted in a Grady Woodward rushing touchdown and a 7-3 Wolves advantage.
With plenty of time remaining in the quarter, the Wolves managed to steal the ball back for their next possession when Bryson Hodges intercepted a Spartan pass at the Eastlake 42-yard line. The Wolves used up the clock on downs as they worked their way toward the goal line. With seconds remaining, quarterback Landon Renfroe found a lucky opening and connected with wide receiver Marcus Angiuli for a long 45-yard touchdown pass and a comfortable 14-3 Eastlake lead for the halftime break.
The Spartans knew they needed to respond quickly and early if they were going to stay in the fight. They did not waste time nor opportunity. With their opening possession, quarterback Tristen Rebar found pay dirt with a long completion to Rayvoughn Varnado for an early touchdown. Continuing to play aggressively, Sumner added to the board with a 2-point conversion on a short run from Matthew Spurbeck into the end zone for a 14-11 close game.
Entering the final quarter, the Wolves quickly added to the board with an early but short 4-yard touchdown pass from Renfroe to Angiuli for a more comfortable 21-11 lead for Eastlake. But was it too soon?
The Spartan offense had plenty of time to close the gap and they brought the pressure. On their next possession, after a series of first downs to get downfield, Sumner quarterback Rebar found a hole and broke through the Eastlake defense and into the end zone for a rushing touchdown. It became a close 21-18 game.
With time on the clock and back and forth possessions, the Wolves managed to hold the Spartan offense to bring home a 21-18 victory and another game closer to the state title.
The Eastlake Wolves will face the Skyview Storm at Eastlake High School at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18.