Wolves fall to well-balanced Eagles

October 7, 2008

By Christopher Huber

Nothing but a field goal. Plain and simple, it wasn’t nearly enough for the Eastlake Wolves.

What was anticipated to be a legitimate battle between two tough KingCo Crest Division teams proved to be a lopsided victory for the visiting Issaquah Eagles.

Dustin Talley (below), Issaquah running back, lands head over heels on the turf after being tripped up by Eastlake's Stephen Nasca. Photos By Christopher Huber

Dustin Talley (below), Issaquah running back, lands head over heels on the turf after being tripped up by Eastlake

Issaquah beat Eastlake 28-3 in a well-balanced conference win Oct. 3.

It wasn’t that the hosting Eastlake Wolves weren’t in the game — they were, in most aspects. Where things didn’t go so well for Eastlake was in the red zone. Penalties stopped dead a few key Eastlake drives, too. 

“We lost guys up front early and that hurt us,” Eastlake head coach Gene Dales said after the game. “We weren’t able to compete with them. We didn’t execute at the goal tonight.” 

With lead running back Dustin Talley finally in the rotation just five weeks after breaking his ankle, and running back Grant Gellatly playing with a big, white club of a cast on his right hand, Issaquah pulled out all the stops with its running game.

Eastlake had ample opportunity to score against the Eagles. The Wolves opened the game with a 61-yard play on a pass from quarterback Drake Furcini to receiver Jeffrey Grotjahn, which brought them to the 9-yard line. Immediately, Issaquah demonstrated its defensive superiority as it held Eastlake to 4 yards in three plays inside the 10 and forced Eastlake’s Kelly Rockey to kick a field goal. 

“Their goal line defense is very good,” Dales said. 

The Wolves settled for a 3-0 lead and hoped they could contain the explosive running game of Issaquah.

That wasn’t the case, though. 

With the superb protection from one of the largest offensive lines around, Gellatly had plenty of holes to run through. Issaquah drove to the 10-yard line just three minutes after Eastlake’s field goal. The powering Gellatly barreled in for the score halfway into the first quarter. 

“Establishing the run game was big for us with Talley back,” Gellatly said after the game. “Every time, it felt like I was in the second level.” 

The driving Eastlake hit a bad break again at the end of the first, when the Eagles broke up a Furcini pass in the end zone on fourth and 2 from the 4-yard line. Issaquah took over on the turnover and took most of the second to drive the length of the field.

This time, Talley ran in for the touchdown from the 1-yard line. 

Down 14-3, Furcini and the Wolves tried to get something going, but eventually turned the ball over again on the Issaquah 30-yard line. 

The Wolves looked good offensively through the first half, despite failing to cap two solid drives with touchdowns. A couple of untimely Eastlake penalties gave Issaquah a boost near the end of the second, which gave the Eagles’ Joey Bradley the chance to connect with receiver Nik Landdock for an 18-yard touchdown toss.

Issaquah went into halftime with a 21-3 lead.

“They beat us up front,” Dales said. 

Eastlake came out confident in the second half, stifling Issaquah’s first drive with a third-down sack by Travis Seaton and Patrick Gallagher. 

Eastlake running backs Stephen Nasca and Andrew Marzano picked away at the Issaquah defense in the third, but, again, penalties changed the pace of a promising drive. Making things worse for Eastlake, Issaquah sacked Furcini on second and long and third and 32, which forced the Wolves to punt one more time.

Gellatly put the finishing touches on a well-balanced game for Issaquah when he exploded up the middle for a 39-yard touchdown run in the third.

Eastlake shot itself in the foot a few too many times with offensive penalties. However, Issaquah’s dominating defense held its own when it counted. 

Issaquah head coach Chris Bennett said he told the guys before the game that they needed to be physical on the line.

“We need to win up front,” Bennett said. “We want to be physical. The defense bent but didn’t break.” 

Gellatly ran 12 times for 138 yards, while Talley carried the ball eight times for 44 yards for the Eagles. Bradley completed eight of 11 passes for 83 yards. Issaquah generated a total offense of 323 yards. 

Eastlake’s Furcini completed 15 of 23 for 197 passing yards. Grotjahn accounted for 107 of those receiving yards and receiver Paul Wright caught five for 52 yards. Issaquah held Marzano to just 61 yards on 12 carries and Nasca had just 28 yards on 10 carries.  Eastlake had 70 total rushing yards, compared with its per-game average of 201. 

Issaquah (5-0, 2-0) plays Redmond (0-5, 0-2) at 7 p.m. Oct. 10 at home.

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