Spartans still own the plateau

October 15, 2008

By Christopher Huber

Skyline remains unbeaten with 42-0 win over Eastlake

 

Jeffery Grotjahn (2), of Eastlake, commits pass interference against Skyline sophomore wide receiver Kasen Williams (3) in first-quarter action. Photo by Jim Simpkins/www.crimsonphotography.com

Jeffery Grotjahn (2), of Eastlake, commits pass interference against Skyline sophomore wide receiver Kasen Williams (3) in first-quarter action. Photo by Jim Simpkins/www.crimsonphotography.com

It’s difficult to come back in a game that begins with your opponent scoring its first two touchdowns seven seconds apart and ends with your team committing six turnovers. That’s what happened for the Eastlake Wolves Oct. 10 against the Skyline Spartans in the third annual Battle of the Plateau.

Skyline tallied yet another shutout in its 42-0 romp of the neighboring Wolves at Skyline Stadium. The team improved to 6-0 overall in front of a capacity crowd, which spilled into the extra bleachers brought in at the south end zone.

Skyline, which has only allowed two points in the last four games, showed just how fierce it is on both sides of the ball. 

Eastlake, now 3-3 overall, was anticipated to be the Spartans’ biggest test yet, but faltered early and often, on offense and special teams.

Eastlake began the game with a promising drive from its own 14 to the Skyline 45-yard line. The Spartans pressed well, though, breaking up a Drake Furcini pass attempt on third and 4. 

Skyline junior quarterback Jake Heaps had trouble getting things going through the air in the first with the Eastlake defense hurrying him right away. 

Then, it got ugly.

On Eastlake’s second possession, Skyline’s Cooper Pelluer tipped a Furcini pass into the hands of Jordan Weil, who ran it back 20 yards for the first touchdown of the game.

The alert Spartan special teams wasted no time on the ensuing kickoff. It took seven seconds for Skyline’s Ryan Somers to scoop up an Andrew Marzano fumble and return it six yards for the score. Eastlake blocked the extra point attempt.

From there, Eastlake struggled against the unstoppable Spartan defense and its own little mistakes. 

With a couple of nonoffensive touchdowns in the books, Heaps and senior receiver Gino Simone decided it was their turn. By the end of the first, Heaps had scored one of his own for a 21-0 lead and had a couple solid drives under his belt.

Despite overthrowing a few balls early on, Heaps locked in with his favorite catch partner, Simone, for two touchdowns in the second. The first was on a 35-yard bomb, the second a 26-yarder. 

Eastlake tried to get something going in the second, but the Skyline defense kept Furcini scrambling to find receivers and gain positive yardage. Its defense continued to show Skyline it wasn’t going down without a fight. 

Skyline led 35-0 at the half. Both teams exchanged turnovers near the end of the second — Eastlake fumbled a punt return and Skyline fumbled it back on the next play.

With its starting center out, the Wolves struggled to maintain drives throughout the night, as Furcini had to adjust to consistently low snaps in the shotgun position.

In addition to the center not starting, Eastlake was missing five other starters on offense. Skyline adjusted to that on defense, Furcini said.

Overall, Eastlake held Skyline to just 230 total yards, only 60 of that on the ground. The Spartans are averaging 165 yards passing and about 200 yards rushing per game this season. 

The second half of the game was less eventful, as Skyline sent in much of its second string crews. But not before Simone scored his third and final touchdown of the night on a 1-yard toss from Heaps. Simone led in receiving, catching five for 96 yards. 

Skyline looks to assert its dominance against its toughest opponent yet in Issaquah at 7 p.m. Oct. 17.

Reach Reporter Christopher Huber at 392-6434, ext. 242, or chuber@isspress.com. 

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