Eastlake and Woodinville matched up Saturday night at Pop Keeney stadium in an important early season battle for KingCo conference supremacy. Both teams came into the game 1-0 with memories of last year's hard fought 21-16 Woodinville win in the background. Woodinville returned a stacked team (12 starters) from last year's KingCo championship, including quarterback Jaden Sheffey and receiver/safety Nash Fouch. The Wolves meanwhile came in fresh from an opening pasting of Issaquah and ready to test themselves against top tier competition.
The Wolves knew they would have to play their best game to knock off the Falcons. Despite a strong start, Eastlake was routed by the Falcons who scored 41 straight points to seal the game by the 3rd quarter. Eastlake self-destructed with an unending series of turnovers and critical penalties throughout the 2nd and 3rd quarters despite playing hard all night on both sides of the ball. Woodinville was the better team in every phase of the game.
The Wolves started hot, capitalizing on their first series of the game with quarterback Connor Brown hitting Nate Sutter on a seam route for a 54 yard touchdown. When the PAT snap sailed off target, holder Garret Carney had to eat it but the Wolves led 6-0 just 2 minutes into the gam
Woodinville battled back, with quarterback Jaden Sheffey dinking-and-dunking the Falcons down the field a la Tom Brady but the Falcons drive stalled out near the goal line. After Chris Nelson forced Sheffey out of bounds on 3rd down, Woodinvilled kicked a field goal to cut the lead to 6-3.
On Eastlake's next possession, Woodinville stuffed the Wolves on the first 3 downs but on 4th down and 5 yards to go in his own territory, Coach Bartel bet on his offense and it paid off when Brown hit junior receiver Dalton Chandler for a first down, inciting an huge energy lift from the rowdy Eastlake student section. Unfortunately, the next play also triggered a quarter of football that featured a Wolves team that battled itself as much as Woodinville with a series of self inflicted wounds. Brown hit Hank Pladson for 44 yards, but the play was called back for an illegal formation. The Wolves offense kept battling. Chris Nelson burst for 6 but was stuffed and knocked out of the game from a hard hit on the next play - a critical personnel loss of Wolves star back. Brown hit sophomore Garret Carney for 16 yards, then hit Chandler for another 14. On the next play, Brown scrambled for 8, lowering his shoulder to take on the Woodinville defender. The Wolves pounded the ball inside the 5 but couldn't punch it in. Matheson kicked a 27-yard field goal, extending the Wolves lead to 9-3 with 11:50 to go in the first half.
Woodinville may be unaccustomed to playing from behind but they weren't rattled, scoring quickly. Running back Matt Jones burst up the middle for 54 yards, carrying the ball inside the 10. The Falcons converted, taking their first lead of the game 10-9. Woodinville quickly struck again when Eastlake fumbled a handoff on their 2nd play of the next series and Woodinville recovered on the Wolves 16. Sheffey hit Jake Maley on a touchdown pass and the Falcons had a 17-9 lead after scoring 2 touchdowns in 2 minutes.
On Eastlake's next possession, the turnover gremlins struck again when Pladson fumbled at the Eastlake 32 and Woodinville once again recovered. The tired Eastlake defense kept battling, led by linebacker Reed Payne but Woodinville's Jones and Sheffey continued driving the Falcons. Woodinville extended their lead to 24-9 with 4 minutes left in the half. The Wolves got the ball with a chance to cut into the lead and looked to have some mojo when Brown hit Carney for 13 yards, Jaxen Williams for 10 and later in the drive, Pladson snared a pass inches off the turf for a 19 yard gain. Brown then hit Pladson again, this time for 20 yards but yet another Wolves mistake, this time a holding penalty nullified the play and the drive ended in an Eastlake punt. Eastlake got the ball once more before the half but the drive ended in yet another turnover, this one a fumble by Chandler near midfield. The defense held and the Wolves went into the locker room trailing 24-9.
The Wolves compounded their first half miscues in the 2nd half. Woodinville struck quickly in the 3rd quarter when an Eastlake offsides penalty on 4th and 1 gave the Falcons a first down inside the Eastlake 5. The Falcons piled on a field goal and turned a Brown interception into another touchdown rolling up a 34-9 lead late in the 3rd quarter.
Late the 3rd quarter, Sam Milton gave the Wolves a spark when he grabbed a tipped pass and rumbled 50 yards to the Woodinville 20. However, the celebration was short-lived as the Woodinville defense stopped the Wolves on the ensuing possession, resulting in a turnover on downs.
In the 4th quarter, Eastlake had one final chance to cheer when Brown hit Pladson with a 68 yard touchdown, bringing the score to 41-16 after Matheson PAT with 7:47 remaining. The final minutes of the game saw Eastlake rotating players into the game, holding Woodinville, then pushing one final, unsuccessful drive. Woodinville ran out the clock, ending with the 41 – 16 score.
Next week, the Wolves return home to host Mount Si at 7 PM at Eastlake High School. Join us!