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Special Teams Shine As Eastlake Lances Newport Knights

10/15/2018, 2:15pm PDT
By Josh Brookshier

The Eastlake Wolves travelled to Newport High School on Friday evening and came away with a convincing and one-sided victory over the host Knights, 58-13. The teams played under clear skies and a pretty crescent moon that set, slowly at first and quickly later, mimicking the sinking hopes of the Newport footballers as the game progressed.

Eastlake senior Nate Sutter continued his personal assault on the KingCo conference, finding the end zone twice for his 9th and 10th touchdowns of the season. Running backs Garret Carney and Leroy Jackson IV also had a pair of touchdown runs apiece as the Wolves bullied the Knights at the line of scrimmage. While the Wolves’ offense piled up points and the defense flustered Newport, it was really the Wolves’ dominance in the kicking game that separated the teams.

The Knights had some moments. Their opening drive gave Newport its one and only lead of the evening at 7-0 as fans for both schools settled had barely into their seats. Newport also had a few lengthy kickoff returns – on their many chances to return Eastlake kicks. Their multiple shifts and motions created additional confusion initially for the Wolves defending the Knight’s triple option offense; however, after the first series the Eastlake defense found its footing and began to shut down the Knights’ run-heavy offense.

Eastlake was simply too much to handle for Newport, and this game was not close. The Eastlake offense had more points (58) than offensive plays (40) against the smaller and overmatched Knights.

After Sutter returned the kickoff following the Knights opening score 91 yards for a touchdown – which was nullified by a block in the back penalty – the Wolves responded to an unfavorable starting field position with a solid drive, ending in a Ryan Curran field goal, cutting the lead to 7-3. After that, it was a rain of Eastlake touchdowns, and a game that was 23-7 in favor of the Wolves at halftime felt completely out of reach for the Knights, who squandered a possible field goal try late in the half after a bad snap.

Eastlake took advantage of Newport’s inability to block on kicks all evening, but particularly in the 2nd quarter. The Wolves blocked two punts and partially blocked another. After the first, senior safety Carter Cox scooped the ball up but was tackled on the return at the Newport 6-yard line. Carney plunged in on the next snap and Eastlake led 17-7.

On the ensuing series, junior rover Jason Bryant, who led Eastlake’s defense with 5 tackles (3.5 tackles for loss) and 6 assists simply took over the game for a Newport possession. Bryant’s tackles for loss on first down and third down sandwiched a short run by the Knights, and Bryant then blocked Newport’s punt at the 12-yard line before falling on the ball at the Newport 5-yard line. Carney would score again on Eastlake’s next offensive play, extending the Wolves’ lead to 23-7 and effectively putting the game away.

After halftime, Eastlake would continue to dominate both sides of the ball as well as special teams. Sutter, in what has become almost a weekly ritual, blocked a Newport PAT. Jackson IV scored the 2nd of his touchdowns on a 10-yard run in the third quarter to cap a drive where he accounted for all 44 yards of offense on 3 runs and a catch. Sutter hauled in an easy-breezy 43-yard touchdown strike from sophomore quarterback Jackson Proctor, and later returned a Newport punt (that somewhat surprisingly wasn’t blocked) for a 52-yard touchdown. The Wolves even went out for an early trick-or-treat, opening the playbook for a slick modification of a halfback pass as Carney found a wide-open Grant Brewer for a 51-yard score. Proctor would cap off the Wolves’ night with a 30-yard scamper that fooled most the Eastlake fans and the entire Newport defense late in the final period.

With the win, Eastlake improves to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in KingCo. The Wolves play at Redmond High School next Thursday, October 18, before hosting a cross-over game against a to-be-determined KingCo Crown Division foe on Friday October 26th.

The playoff picture remains muddled with several teams vying for position. Eastlake, at 3-1 in their division, appears to be locked in to either the third or fourth seed from KingCo, as the Wolves have completed their schedule in division. All teams throughout the state are seeded following the conclusion of the week 9 games. Pending those outcomes, the first round of state playoffs is held on Friday November 2nd and Saturday November 3rd. The KingCo #3 will host a game, and KingCo #4 will play on the road.

Game Notes:

Wolves quarterbacks threw a season low 12 passes…. Grady Robison was 6-10 for 66 yards, while Proctor and Carney each completed their only attempts, both for long touchdowns…. Robison again led the Wolves in rushing with 10 carries for 77 yards, while Jackson had 8 carries for 63 yards and Matt Brookshier came off the bench to carry the ball 4 times for 45 yards…. The Wolves’ defense recorded an astounding 11 tackles for loss led by Bryant with 3.5 TFL…. Eastlake outgained Newport in total yards 410-281, including a 250-240 advantage on the ground… Eastlake committed a season low 3 penalties.

Special thanks to statistician John Miller, spotter Eric Bryant, and photographers Chad Greene and Mark Sutter.

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