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Wolves Romp

Posted Wednesday, September 20, 2006 by Tyler Roush - Sammamish Review
September 20, 2006

Wolves Romp
Robertson slings five TDs as Eastlake downs Woodinville

By Tyler Roush
Sammamish Review

Three games might be an insufficient sample size with which to judge a quarterback, by Ryan Robertson's record-setting performance against Woodinville has the junior looking like Eastlake's top signal-caller - now and in the future.

Robertson passed for a school-record five touchdown in a 33-9 victory in the Wolves' home opener on Friday, Sept. 15.

It was just the third appearance - and second start - of his varsity career.

"You never expect to throw five touchdown passes, but I was prepared to wing the ball around in case the run game didn't happen," said Robertson, who completed 21-of-31 passes for 302 yards.

The talented junior quarterback is changing the culture of Eastlake football, helping the Wolves' offense evolve from a deliberate, run-oriented style to a pass-happy aerial circus.

Since entering at quarterback for Tanor Johnson during the Wolves' season-opener against Punahou of Hawaii, Robertson has completed 46-of-76 passes for 682 yards and eight touchdowns - all numbers that put him on pace to establish team records in each category by season's end.

Not bad, considering that Robertson entered the season No. 2 on the Wolves' depth chart behind Johnson, a senior.

The two players battled throughout the summer camp for that starting spot.

Though the junior ultimately won the job, Robertson said it was a friendly competition.

"Tanor and I have always had a special bond, quarterback to quarterback," he said, "and I believe that really helps when you go out on the field, because I know what he's doing and he knows what I'm doing on every play."

Johnson has been one of the primary beneficiaries of Robertson's gaudy statistics.

The multitalented senior has caught 10 passes for 169 yards since moving to a wide receiver/fly back role.

"Ryan's a great quarterback," said Johnson, who also starts at safety and kicker. "I hand it off to him with no doubts in my mind that he's going to step up and make it happen. I was pretty pumped knowing that he was going to be giving me the ball."

In the second quarter, Johnson helped trigger the Wolves' 26-point outburst against the Falcons.

The senior twice intercepted Woodinville's Peter Roberts on tipped balls, and followed up each takeaway with a touchdown.

His 14-yard catch gave Eastlake a 13-6 lead with 4:15 remaining in the second quarter, and he also hauled in a 31-yard rainbow to put the Wolves up 19-6 with 3:04 left in the half.

But Johnson isn't the only weapon in Eastlake's loaded receiving corps.

Justin Helwege - affectionately dubbed "O.J." - has 14 catches for 204 yards.

Against Woodinville, the 6-foot-5 senior wide-out reeled in eight passes for 123 yards and three scores.

He nearly added a fourth touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, but his 31-yard catch and run was called back by a penalty.

Senior tight ends Taylor Corr and Andy Peterson - the latter an all-league second-teamer in 2005 - provide Robertson with a pair of targets to work the middle of the field.

And Eastlake can still pound the ball when it needs to - senior Dane Steel was an all-league selection at running back in 2005.

"It's not like it's just him out there," said Eastlake coach Gene Dales, referring to Johnson. "We've got a lot of kids who can make plays. It's a good situation for us, we just need to stay healthy and keep getting better."

Dales added that his team didn't carry any significant injuries out of the Woodinville game, which is lucky - the Falcons (2-1) played a much more punishing game than the final score indicated.

The defense harassed Robertson into three interceptions and a fumble and held the Wolves scoreless through the first 15 minutes, 27 seconds of the game.

And they hit. Hard.

"We knew all along that if we played our game, we could beat them," Robertson said. "(But) they're a really tough team - there's no doubt about it that they're a hell of a team."

Eastlake (2-1) travels to Redmond (2-1) tomorrow, Sept. 21, for a game that kicks off at 7 p.m.

Given the short week, Dales said his team is fortunate to be coming out of Friday's game against the Falcons in one piece.

"We know they're going to be another physical team," said Dales of the Mustangs. "I don't know if they're as physical as Woodinville. But it's a rivalry game, and I'm sure that they're going to play pretty hard."


Photos by Tyler Roush, capton - Ryan Robertson (8) looks right at home behind center Scott Hunter (74) in Eastlake's 33-9 victory.

Reporter Tyler Roush can be reached at 392-6434, ext. 242, or troush@isspress.com.

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