By Khalid Bennett, The Seattle Medium
Two Metro League titans locked up Friday night under the lights at Eastside Catholic for the first game of an odd, but promising high school football season. Eastside Catholic and O’Dea faced off for the state championship the last time they met with Eastside prevailing 20-12.
With both teams having state championship aspirations, they are also very familiar with each other despite their contrasting offensive styles. O’Dea with an emphasis on a strong running game, while Eastside Catholic has embraced a more spread style offense looking to push the ball down the field quickly and efficiently. Both styles have been successful for both programs, so it was going to come down to which program would execute their game plan after such a long period of not playing.
The game did not start off well for either team. Turnovers were a huge factor early on for both teams, as penalties stalled Eastside’s normally high-octane offense throughout the first half. O’Dea stayed strong defensively and yards on the ground seemed unattainable in the first half for Eastside Catholic. The Crusaders then went to the air. With less than a minute left in the first half, Eastside Catholic was able to put the first score on the board with a 67-yard touchdown pass from Kobe Muasau to freshman Ontario Latin-Henly to give Eastside Catholic a 7-0 lead going into halftime.
With the defenses dialed in, the second half would prove to benefit the team that could eliminate, or limit the mistakes that infested the first half of play. 7 was the number of turnovers by both teams in the first half as well as the number of penalties assessed to Eastside Catholic in just the first quarter. Eastside Catholic continued to struggle to running the ball. After a three and out, a fumbled snap on a punt by Eastside Catholic that was recovered by O’Dea’s Derrick Payton put the Irish in the shadow of the Crusader goal post and in position to tie the game. A fumble on the goal line by O’Dea that was recovered by Eastside Catholic and returned 26 yards erased the Fighting Irish’s best chance to score. O’Dea decided to take a few shots down the field that came up unsuccessful. Sophomore running back James Scott found some running room for the first promising drive for the Fighting Irish, but a penalty helped Eastside Catholic force another punt by O’Dea.
Eastside Catholic then found a rhythm in the passing game. Muasau found the freshman Latin-Henly again for his second touchdown of the day making the score 14-0 Crusaders over the Irish. O’Dea was unable to answer offensively and in a game that was dictated by the defenses, time was running out. One more touchdown pass by Eastside’s Muasau would prove to be the final exclamation mark on this Metro League match up, Eastside Catholic takes down O’Dea 20-0.
During the game, Eastside Catholic rolled up 250 yard passing, while holding O’Dea to just 73 total yards of offense.