No. 2 Eastside Catholic (10-1) faces its toughest test yet in the playoffs this Saturday when it faces No. 5 Lincoln (11-0) at 4 p.m. at the Lincoln Bowl in Tacoma. The Abes can score, and they do it quickly and often with quarterback Jordan Kitna at the helm.
Yes, he’s a Kitna, the son of former NFL quarterback Jon Kitna. Oh, and did I mention that Jon is the head coach? The elder Kitna has Lincoln rolling in its first state tournament since 2003 thanks to a well-oiled machine of an offense led by his son. Jordan is sixth nationally with 54 touchdown passes.
“When you turn on the tape, their offense, the first word that comes to your mind is explosive,” Eastside Catholic coach Jeremy Thielbahr said. “They are making a lot of plays. They’re huge chunks of yardage — one touch guys are all over the place. So you touch the ball and it’s a touchdown.”
Wilson held Lincoln in check in a 12-3 game that the Abes won, but other than that, it has been all offense all the time. The second lowest scoring game for the Lincoln offense was 32. It has topped the 60-point mark on four occasions, including an eye-opening 91-0 win over Mount Tahoma.
“It’s going to be a great challenge for our defense,” Thielbahr said. “We got to contain those explosives. We can’t allow them to have over five explosive plays against us. If we can hold them to that than we got a chance.”
Offensively for the Crusaders, Harley Kirsch is tossing the ball well again. The junior quarterback has put up big numbers, but it’s the run game that has settled the offense into a great rhythm. Without a feature back, Eastside Catholic has gone to a trio of runners with Dominique Fetui, Addison Hull and Brandon Wellington.
Lincoln has yet to play a top 10 team, whereas Eastside Catholic has faced two top opponents from out of state (split those) and beat No. 3 O’Dea. It should be interesting to see how it plays out.