By RayJaun Stelly, The Seattle Medium
With a trip to the WIAA 3A state football championship coming down to one game, and the only thing in common between both Eastside Catholic and Kennewick is that each team had only lost one game. The Crusaders of Eastside Catholic and their high scoring offense looked to put up a lot of points, meanwhile Kennewick, coming off their victory over O’Dea last week, was looking to upset another Metro League opponent.
Although fans on both sides expected points instantly, the first quarter was a brilliant display of defensive discipline by both teams. The quarter consisted of punts, very little momentum offensively, and most importantly neither team scored.
The Crusaders flipped the field position and Kennewick found themselves with possession at their own 4-yard line to begin the second quarter. However, the Lions quickly turned a disadvantage into an opportunity. With very little margin for error, Kennewick quarterback Dayton Davis found Austin Stoddard for a 96-yard touchdown pass which ended the scoring drought between teams.
Leading 7-0, Kennewick’s momentum continued as their special teams unit forced a fumble, but the Crusaders’ defense held strong and didn’t allow the Lions to score any points off the turnover.
Now the game resorted back to defensive discipline for Eastside Catholic as they forced punts, recorded a sack, and defensive back Tyson Weaver intercepted a Davis pass.
Kennewick’s defense was equally impressive as they were able to hold the Crusaders scoreless for the first half of the game.
The Crusaders received the ball to start the second half, but their first series was a nightmare as quarterback Brady McKelheer’s pass was intercepted and returned 65 yards for a touchdown to give the Lions a 14-0 lead.
Instead of hanging their heads, Eastside Catholic responded with a 1-yard touchdown by running back Chase Hamadan.
Neither offense had much rhythm as the game reached the fourth quarter, Kennewick’s Davis threw his second interception of the game to defensive back Drew Sanidad.
With Eastside Catholic down 14-7, and their season on the ropes they needed an answer. On what appeared to be a touchdown on a punt return by Sanidad was called back because of an illegal block penalty.
Eastside Catholic’s hopes of returning to the state championship came down to one possession on fourth and goal with time running out in the game. Mckelheer looked to pass to Daley, but the defense of Kennewick forced their fourth incomplete pass in a row.
Giving themselves the ball with just seconds before the clock sounded off, Kennewick took victory formation and ended Eastside Catholic’s chances of repeating as champions.
In the last two weeks, Kennewick beat two of Metro League’s powerhouse programs — O’Dea last week, and Eastside Catholic this week by a score of 14-7 to punch their ticket to the 3A state championship game.
Pictorial Highlights of Kennewick vs Eastside Catholic