The Eastlake Wolves raised their record to 3-1 on the year and remained unblemished in KingCo League play with a workmanlike victory over Issaquah, 20-7. For a game that never felt in doubt, this one wasn’t easy for the Wolves, who bounced back from a non-conference loss last week.
Perhaps unexpectedly, this game was a battle of bend-but-don’t-break defensive efforts by both squads. The Wolves raced out to a 13-0 lead only to be stymied until they eventually tacked on a final touchdown early in the 4th quarter. Meanwhile the Eastlake defense was particularly stingy against the run and kept the Eagles shut out until the late stages of the game when a comeback seemed altogether unfathomable.
The opening series of the contest was a precursor for the evening as Eastlake rover Jalen Bright recorded a sack for an 11-yard loss on Issaquah’s second play. After the Eagles were forced to punt, the Wolves began their first possession with the ball on the plus side of midfield, and patiently drove 47 yards in 7 plays for an early score.
Quarterback Grady Robison ran for a touchdown from 8 yards out for the Wolves on a drive that featured two third down conversions. Robison completed passes to three receivers, including a 13 yard hook up with Vini Monteiro on a fantastic look off to bait Issaquah’s coverage out of the middle of the field.
The Wolves’ defense would put the offense back in business quickly. After crossing midfield, Issaquah stalled as William Woodgate recorded the first of his two sacks of Issaquah quarterback Trevor Morine for a 6-yard loss on third down, forcing a punt. Eastlake took over at their own 24-yard line and in spite of a holding call on the first play of the series, the Wolves would march the field and Robison found Nate Sutter on an 11-yard toss at the end of the first quarter. Eastlake failed to convert a 2-point try but carried their 13-0 lead through three quarters.
Issaquah mounted three scoring threats in the second quarter, each quashed by the relentless Wolves defense. Eastlake blocked a 28-yard field goal attempt, and later in the period would chase down Morine on 4th and 3 from the Wolves’ 7-yard line, forcing an intentional grounding and turnover on downs. Issaquah managed one last gasp before intermission, but safety Jack Rud thwarted the effort with an interception at the goal line on the final play of the first half.
The third period began with a 27-yard burst on the opening kickoff return by sophomore speedster Leroy Jackson. On their first play from scrimmage Eastlake seemed poised to add to the score after Monteiro made two sensational moves to elude would-be tacklers on a catch and run to put the Wolves at the Issaquah 25. The promising drive quickly deteriorated as the Wolves lost yardage on penalties. The teams would twice trade punts in the quarter, but on their third possession the Wolves began again in plus territory.
On the legs of Robison and Bright, who provided a spark on the drive with physical, bruising runs into the teeth of the Issaquah defense, the Wolves mercilessly pounded the ball into the red zone. Robison would find Sutter, this time from 9 yards out, to push the score to 20-0.
Issaquah continued to battle, finally getting on the scoreboard with 6:17 remaining. The Wolves fumbled on their next possession to give the Eagles one last hope, but Bright was on the spot again, this time registering a sack on 4th and 5 in Eastlake territory to force another turn over on downs, and the Wolves would run out the clock.
Eastlake travels to Mount Si next Friday, September 28, for a 7pm kickoff against the Wildcats in a critical KingCo match up.
The Wolves recorded 6 sacks and unofficially 10 tackles for loss... Robison completed 15 of 24 passes, finding 7 different receivers… On 8 targets, Sutter finished with 6 catches for 80 yards, but also caught the other two balls but both those catches were ruled out-of-bounds... Eastlake moves to 2-0 in KingCo.
Special thanks to statistician John Miller, spotter Eric Bryant, and photographers Mark Sutter and Rob Veal.