With plateau bragging rights on the line, the Eastlake Wolves pulled out an upset victory over the Eastside Catholic Crusaders 27-21 on Friday night. Nobody was sure of the outcome until the final minutes as the Crusaders responded to every score with one of their own. However, in the end, 2015 Eastlake quarterback Richard “Blue” Thomas’ mobility proved to be too much for the Crusaders to handle.
“It was huge win for our program,” said Thomas. “I definitely feel like it was a big win. We executed our game plan throughout the entire game and that was a crucial part to the win.”
Thomas was not alone, as he was helped out by his running backs as well. The Lewis twins, Drew and Troy, provided a formidable attack from the running back position. Neither had outstanding games, but they did not have a bad game either. University of Washington commit and 2014 Eastlake RB Drew Lewis went down a couple of times on the field as his legs started to cramp up. He missed most of the fourth quarter, but was able to return to action late in the fourth.
“It was really tough to deal with those leg cramps,” said Lewis. “I need to definitely prepare myself better for that in the future. It’s obviously something I can work on.”
Lewis rushed for close to 40 yards and added two crucial touchdowns near the goal line. Eastlake didn’t need a huge game from Lewis as QB Blue Thomas ran for over 100 yards and added one rushing touchdown to his season tally.
“I don’t know exactly how many yards I rushed for, but I feel like my legs helped this team out a lot,” said Thomas. “I got a first down on a crucial 3rd down and 10 situation which seemed to keep that big drive going. They had soft pressure on me and didn’t really come up the field. The middle would be wide open and I think that was a big key to the game.”
The Crusader lineman dropped into pass coverage constantly, which resulted in wide open running lanes for Thomas. Although they got to Thomas a couple of times, they had a hard time of keeping track of the junior quarterback.
To start off the game, Eastside Catholic executed a long touchdown drive which started on their own 23-yard line. An up-tempo offense led by Harley Kirsch was the key to the drive as the Crusader offense caught Eastlake on their heels multiple times. Henry Jarvis led the rushing attack and had a key 22-yard reception to get the ball down to the Eastlake 4-yard line. Fullback Elijah Pa’aga finished off the drive with a gritty 3-yard touchdown run to put the Crusaders up 7-0.
That lead would not last for long as Blue Thomas began to find his way outside of the pocket. He scrambled multiple times for big yardage as the Crusader line dropped into coverage and had no pass rush on Thomas. The Eastlake quarterback finished off the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run, which tied the game up at 7 with 11:52 left in the second quarter.
On the following Eastside Catholic possessions, the offense seemed to have no urgency and every drive resulted in a punt. The same could be said for Eastlake though. Luck fell the Wolves’ way though as they recovered a punt that went in-and-out of Eastside Catholic 2015 running back Brandon Wellington’s hands and 2015 Eastlake safety Jeffrey Feinglas returned it for a touchdown. Despite the excitement on the Eastlake sideline, in the state of Washington, there is a rule where a fumbled punt cannot be advanced by the opposing team once recovered. The touchdown got called back, but the Wolves regained possession on the Eastside Catholic 39-yard line. The Wolves would go on to score right before the half on a 4-yard touchdown run by Drew Lewis, which put them up 13-7 as the extra point was blocked.
The second half started out with a bang as 2014 Troy Lewis returned an eastside Catholic kickoff 37-yards to the Eastside Catholic 38-yard line. A clutch conversion on 4th and 10 by QB Blue Thomas and Gage Casal gave the Wolves the ball inside the ten yard line. Two plays later, Drew Lewis punched it in for his second score of the game and to give the Wolves a 13-point lead.
After Eastlake recovered the pooch kick on the ensuing kickoff, they drove down to the 20-yard line of Eastside Catholic. However, in a momentum shifting play, 2016 DB Jonathon Webster picked off Eastlake QB Blue Thomas. It was Thomas’ second thrown interception of the night. Immediately after the interception, Harley Kirsch hit 2016 WR Devon Arbis-Jackson on a screen pass which Arbis-Jackson promptly took down to the Eastlake 26-yard line for a 64-yard gain. 2014 RB Henry Jarvis than ran the ball in from 18-yards out to cut the deficit to 6 points.
Momentum shifted right back to Eastlake’s side when Jeffrey Feinglas caught the ensuing Eastside Catholic kickoff on his own 24-yard line. On what was the play of the game and after breaking three tackles, Feinglas walked into the end zone to give the Wolves a commanding 27-13 lead with a few minutes left in the third quarter.
Eastside Catholic scored on the following position, but could just not find their groove after that. There seemed to be no sense of urgency in the offense and with a few costly turnovers, the Eastlake Wolves were able to kneel it down in victory formation.
Drew Lewis was happy about the win, but still said there are lots of things to work on heading into practice this week.
“That was big,” said Lewis. “That sent a message right there. We put in so much work this week, working on the new formations and installs. It was good to see that it paid off. We got Skyline this week, which is definitely a big-game. We just have to come back Monday and be ready to hit heads.”