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Wolves on the run: Johnson's big plays trigger Eastlake's rout of Woodinville

Posted Saturday, September 16, 2006 by Ryan Lambert
Last modified: September 16. 2006 12:00AM

Wolves on the run: Johnson's big plays trigger Eastlake's rout of Woodinville

By Ryan Lambert

SAMMAMISH -- Tanor Johnson's multi-tasking ways put him in a category formerly occupied by cartoon rabbits.

In a span of six minutes, Eastlake's wonderboy turned one of 4A Kingco's most anticipated rematches into a repeat rout as the Wolves defeated Woodinville, 33-9, Friday night.

"It's really just being in the right place at the right time," Johnson said.

Yes, and he's made a science out of it.

Johnson, who began the season as the Wolves quarterback and has since been moved to receiver, caught a pair of touchdowns and intercepted two passes during a topsy-turvy second quarter. Both interceptions came off of deflected passes from Woodinville quarterback Peter Roberts.

By the time the smoke cleared, Eastlake (2-1, 2-0 Kingco) had scored 26 unanswered points during a six-minute stretch and had a 26-9 lead going into halftime.

"He's just so key to our team," Eastlake linebacker Jared Fagan said of Johnson. "Whenever we need someone to make a big play, No. 4 always the one making it."

Johnson's all-purpose performance was matched only by Wolves quarterback Ryan Robertson, the player who beat out Johnson behind center.

Robertson set an Eastlake record, throwing five touchdowns. The junior signal caller was 21-of-31 for 317 yards.

"Rybo's got a great arm," Eastlake coach Gene Dales said. "He can throw it all over the field, keep people honest. ... He's a junior kid in a huge game, and he had a great night for us."

Woodinville (2-1, 2-1 Kingco) appeared to be in full control throughout the first quarter, building a 6-0 lead and picking off Robertson once in the process.

But the Falcons were foiled twice in the red zone and kicker Jered Leslie salvaged both drives with a pair of 34-yard field goals.

Woodinville quarterback Peter Roberts, who was 4-of-13 in the first half throwing for 60 yards and two interceptions, was the victim of misfortune most of the night. His first interception was tipped in the air by one of his receivers before it landed in Johnson's hands. Roberts' very next attempt was likewise deflected, again landing in the arms of Johnson.

Both interceptions were converted into touchdowns: The first was a third-down dump-off pass, which Johnson took 14 yards for a 13-6 Eastlake lead; and the second was a fourth-and-12 lob to a wide open Johnson 31 yards away, giving the Wolves a 19-6 lead.

"We hold them to two field goals when we're kind of in a ditch, and the next thing you know we get the lead," Dales said. "So I thought we persevered real well."

Eastlake forced the Falcons to go three-and-out on their ensuing possession and began yet another scoring drive, culminating with Robertson's 24-yard touchdown pass to Justin "O.J." Helwege.

Helwege caught eight passes for 122 yards and three touchdowns. His eight catches tied a school record set by Brett Upchurch in 2001. The 6-foot-5 receiver caught his final touchdown, another 24-yard pass from Robertson midway through the third quarter, to give Eastlake a 33-9 lead.

The loss is particularly disappointing for Woodinville, which was blown out by Eastlake last year, 39-14. The Falcons figured to be one of the few teams capable of challenging Eastlake for the 4A Kingco title. Now it will be a struggle to make up ground.

"It got away from us. After the loss last year, everyone wanted to win really bad," Woodinville linebacker Henry Hippely said. "It was really intense this week in practice, but we didn't take hold of our opportunities (tonight)."

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