If you read some of the reaction to my rankings post a couple days ago, the anticipation for tonight’s Eastlake-Woodinville matchup at Pop Keeney Stadium in Bothell has clearly been stirring for the past week. Just read some of these comments:
From “mike”, at 10:22 p.m. on Tuesday:
Eastlake has had no competition to date. Look out for an upset as Woodinville has a very potent offense this year and has the best defense in the league, bar none.
Then four hours later, from “Chris”:
No way Woodinville stands a chance against Eastlake Thursday night. The Wolves offence is too powerful with Robertson, McKay, Kemp, and Lappano. And you will have to change your mind about the best defense in the league.
A little difference of opinion there, don’t you think? This is one of the best parts of the first few weeks of the season: Everyone’s entitled to their opinions, even if they are 180 degrees from one another, and then the games will shake out who’s got it right. Tonight’s game is one of those that will give us a better idea of just where these two top-10 teams stand.
Both defenses have been stout the first two weeks, but neither has faced the kind of competition they will tonight. Eastlake’s offense is one of the state’s best behind QB Ryan Robertson, whom Woodinville coach Wayne Maxwell said is the league’s top quarterback. Eastlake coach Gene Dales said Woodinville’s offense is the best he’s seen it in the past five years.
I was at Woodinville practice Tuesday evening to get a feel for how the Falcons plan on limiting Robertson, who threw for 302 yards and five touchdowns in a 33-9 win against Woodinville last year. “Give him good pressure, try to get him scared in the backfield,” senior Graham Keller said. But the Falcons weren’t exactly unhappy with how they went at Robertson last year; they just gave him a few extra seconds that Robertson took advantage of. He took the Falcons’ pressure and still found openings in the coverage.
But Woodinville didn’t help itself last year with some early turnovers that helped get Robertson going. “Can’t keep putting the ball in No. 8’s hands,” Maxwell said.
I got the idea that if Woodinville can hold onto the ball and get Robertson uncomfortable in the pocket tonight, the Falcons think they’ll have a shot at their first win against Eastlake since 2004. I’ll be there tonight to see how it goes down, and I’ll let you know tomorrow morning.
Also, I should note there’s another big game in the state tonight: Ferris, No. 1 in 4A, is playing seventh-ranked Lewis & Clark in Spokane tonight in a game that could have a large effect on our rankings. If Ferris loses, it’s s big possibility that one of the top KingCo 4A teams could move into our top spot.
1. Simon Sorenson, Skyline, cross-country. Opens with time of 16:13 to win meet at Klahanie Park.
2. Chelsea Burns, Holy Names, cross-country. Already in form with a time of 19:28 at Lincoln Park.
3. Cameron Gibbs, Newport, boys golf. Shot a two-under 34 at The Golf Club at Newcastle.
Tonight’s top games
1. Eastlake vs. Woodinville, football, 7 p.m. at Pop Keeney Stadium. Winner takes first step to winning KingCo 4A, but both also have to go through Bothell.
2. Archbishop Murphy at Cedarcrest, girls soccer, 7 p.m. Rematch of 2A final in 2006.
3. Mount Rainier at Evergreen, volleyball, 7 p.m. Good early-season Seamount match; maybe we’ll see who can challenge Kennedy this season.