When I spoke with third-year Eastlake coach Gene Dales last Tuesday, he recalled how the Wolves lost two years ago to Skyline in the regular-season finale that decided KingCo 4A. Then, last season, Dales and Eastlake had an opportunity to win the conference again, but the Wolves lost 17-3 to Bothell at Pop Keeney.
“Now you get to year three,” Dales said, “and you just hope it’s our turn.”
It wasn’t Eastlake’s turn last night. Not yet anyway, but the Wolves keep improving. Bothell left the Sammamish plateau with a 19-13 victory that Eastlake had, clenched in its hands, for so much of Friday night. But a few inches separated it from the victory it so badly wanted.
If WR Cory Mackay, a heck of a receiver, gets a few inches farther in the third quarter, he scores to put Eastlake up 20-10. Instead, the ball slipped out just inches before the goal line, the officials ruled. Eastlake has instant replay in the press box — which is, for the lack of better words, way cool — and I must have watched the play 50 times. I couldn’t say he crossed the line.
Even then, if a fourth-quarter pass play goes a few inches farther, the Wolves don’t face fourth-and-one at midfield, and perhaps the drive keeps going and Eastlake ties or takes the lead. Instead, Bothell dropped Eastlake for a loss on the next play and held on for the victory.
Those inches will drive Eastlake crazy, but here’s the good news: the season isn’t over. Dales took some comfort — I’m guessing not a whole lot — in that fact as a mist covered the empty field late Friday night.
“We competed and played well against a very good football team,” Dales said. “The playoffs are still ahead of us.”
As for Bothell, the Cougars have little time to celebrate the victory. A rivalry game against Inglemoor, which is tied with Eastlake for second in the conference, is up next.
Other notable winners Friday night:
-Evergreen. Wow. Kennedy’s 43-game Seamount streak fell hard, 52-24 to the Wolverines. Nuve Kongaika and Kyle Tunney combined for 385 yards and six touchdowns, and any doubt about Evergreen after last week is gone. And I don’t look too smart after lobbying last week to get Kennedy back into the Times rankings.
-Oak Harbor. The defending 4A champs got retribution for their only loss of 2006 with a 22-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats had to come back from a 14-0 deficit to do it.
-Bethel. Just as Graham-Kapowsin gets hot, Bethel sends the Eagles back to earth, 40-19.
-Skyline. This was a trap game, and the Spartans didn’t fall into it. A 24-7 victory keeps them in line for the KingCo 3A title.
1. Johri Fogerson, O’Dea, football. Ran for 290 yards an five touchdowns in victory against Bishop Blanchet, which clinches the Metro League Mountain for the Irish.
2. Robert Akeo-Orr, Bethel, football. Caught 11 passes for 252 yards and two touchdowns in the important victory noted above.
3. Taylor Cox, Jackson, football. Ran for 299 yards and four touchdowns in loss to Kamiak, who received 227 yards rushing and two touchdowns from Justin Glenn.
4. Annemarie Thayer, Ballard, girls swimming. Her coach writes in: “Annemarie, a Freshman, became the first ironwoman in Ballard’s swimming program history by swimming a state qualifying time in every single individual swimming event this season…Ballard won the meet (against Franklin) 125 to 51 and is undefeated at 9-0.”
5. Brett Kirschner, Interlake, football. Interlake gets its first win of the season behind Kirschner, who ran for 223 yards and three touchdowns.
Today’s top games
1. Tahoma at Kentlake, football, 7 p.m. at French Field. Both teams need wins to stay a part of the race for playoff spots in the SPSL 4A.
2. Eastside Catholic at Lakeside, football, 2 p.m. Eastside Catholic clinches a playoff spot with a victory (eliminating hopefuls such as Bishop Blanchet and Bainbridge).
3. Liberty at Issaquah, girls soccer, 7:30 p.m. Liberty fights to get into the top half of KingCo 3A while Issaquah tries to stay unbeaten.