At its best, football is a spectacle; a whirlwind of action, speed, athleticism and drama. Friday night at Lake Washington, it was none of those things as the Eastlake Wolves ground out a 38-10 victory over the Kangs in a rainy, penalty-filled slog. Credit the Wolves for overcoming their own shoddy play, a zillion penalties and a game with no real flow or drama, to take home the "W" and move their record to 2-0 in advance of next week's big showdown with Union.
Eastlake was clearly the better team. However, early on, the Kangs had success with their scrambling 6-5, 220 pound quarterback Zeke Pelluer turning broken plays into positive yardage. Meanwhile, the Wolves offense struggled with the basics - snaps, handoffs, dropped passes fumbles and penalties. In fact, if there was an impact player for the game, it was the penalty flag which flew through the air seemingly on every snap.
The Kangs scored first, as a Pelluer scramble for good yardage followed by LW's one running back run of the night put them in Wolves territory. An Eastlake personal foul penalty put the Kangs in the red zone and a 28 yard Joey Ryan field goal gave the Kangs a 3-0 lead. Eastlake countered quickly when 39-yard Nate Sutter’s kickoff return put the Wolves in business on the Kangs side of the field. After LW stuffed a couple of Garret Carney runs, Eastlake QB Grady Robison found Sutter on a short inside bubble completion which Sutter turned into a 42-yard touchdown catch-and-run. For the PAT, the Wolves lined up with an offset line and Robison naked behind the center. Fans got their first hint of the night's youth movement theme when Robison hit sophomore Carson Seelig with a receiver screen behind a wall of blockers. Seelig powered his way for the 2-point conversion and the Wolves led 8-3.
The teams traded keystone-cops possessions for a few minutes before the Kangs turned a broken play into six points. After a series of Eastlake penalties put the ball in Wolves territory, Pelluer evaded a Brody Leslie blitz and took off untouched for a 36 yard touchdown scramble. LW hit the PAT and took their second lead of the game, 10-8 with seven minutes left in the half.
Despite Pelluer's efforts, the Kangs never really had a chance to threaten offensively. Their playbook seemed to consistent of 2 plays - Pelluer throwing 4 yard passes to his favorite target, Hudson Jones or Pelluer scrambling if he couldn't find Jones. As a result, the Kangs made no plays down the field and had no way to sustain an offensive drive.
As the Wolves D settled down, the offense finally found a spark from a concerted youth movement. With sophomore quarterback Jackson Proctor directing the offense, sophomore running back Leroy Williams ripped off a 44 yard run to the Kangs 22 yard-line. On 3rd down, Proctor threw his first varsity touchdown pass, 22 yards to Sutter. Ryan Curran continued is strong PAT kicking and the Wolves finally led, 15-10 with time winding down in the first half. The Kangs tried to rally but a monster sack by Jake O'Donnell laid waste to the LW drive and the half mercifully ended.
Whether it was a wake-up call by the sophomores or a paint-peeling halftime speech, the Wolves were a better team in the second half. The defense completely shut down the Kangs offense as defensive linemen William Woodgate, Zach Kennedy, Cameron Lynch and O'Donnell took control of the line of scrimmage. On the Wolves first offensive play of the second half, the o-line went to work. With Cameron Knutson, Andrew Plummer and Woodgate opening holes, Carney took a handoff and ripped off a 56-yard touchdown run. Curran hit the PAT and Eastlake extended to 22-10. For the Kangs, things went from bad to worse as penalties and the Wolves defense pushed them back to their own end zone, resulting in a safety when O'Donnell pressured Pelluer into intentional grounding. Now with a 24-10 lead, Jackson took the resulting free kick and returned it to the 42 yard line. The Wolves brought in a fresh back, junior Jalen Bright who got behind his line once again and powered the team down the field. Once in the red zone, Robison threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Joey Grezetic, extending the lead to 31-10.
On the ensuing kickoff, sophomore Drew Farrington made his mark with a big tackle to put the Kangs once again in tough field position to start the 4th quarter. From there, everyone just watched the clock, hoped the refs would sit on their hankies and get out of the rain. Eastlake tacked on one last touchdown for a final score of Eastlake 38, Lake Washington 10.
Game notes: Eastlake's captains for the game were Carter Cox, Garret Carney, Cameron Knutson and Brody Leslie. On defense, Garret Carney, Vini Monteiro and Zach Kennedy led the way, with Monteiro intercepting Pelluer's only downfield pass attempt.
Special thanks to statistician John Miller, spotter Eric Bryant, and photographers Chad Greene and Rob Veal.