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Wolves Sports

Trick play highlights Eastlake's 48-0 win

Posted Wednesday, October 04, 2006 by Tyler Roush

October 4, 2006

Forward in reverse
Trick play highlights Eastlake's 48-0 win

By Tyler Roush / Sammamish Review

Eastlake had a special play drawn up for last week's homecoming game against Garfield.

When it came time to use it, Eastlake coach Gene Dales wasn't shy about announcing his intentions.

"John Hill---here it comes!" said Dales, his voice booming down the Eastlake sideline, seeking the parent of one of his players.

On the subsequent play, John's son, Eric Hill, accepted a handoff from Eastlake's Dane Steel and swept around to the right side, setting up what appeared to be a reverse end-around.

The Garfield defense bit on the fake, and Eric Hill pulled up short of the line of scrimmage and unfurled a 42-yard rainbow to a wide-open Justin (OJ) Helwege.

The play set up Steel's 7-yard touchdown run with 4:30 remaining in the first half, staking the Wolves' to a 35-0 lead in what became a 48-0 victory against the Bulldogs on Friday, Sept. 29.

"That was just a little something we brought out for homecoming," said Helwege of the play. "We just set up the reverse a lot then bombed it out there."

In fact, Eastlake's Tanor Johnson had previously scored on reverses of 6 and 7 yards in the first quarter.

When it came time to run the trick play, Steel and Eric Hill sold the fake.

"They bit hard," Steel said.

It was that kind of night for the Wolves (4-0 KingCo, 4-1), ranked No. 2 in the state coming into last week's game against the Bulldogs (0-5, 0-5).

Playing with a short field for much of the night thanks to three Garfield turnovers, Eastlake still managed to compile 355 yards of total offense.

Eastlake scored 14 points off three interceptions, including one that junior JJ Clark returned 39 yards for a score to put the Wolves up 2-0 with 2:42 left in the first quarter.

"Our defense has so many talented guys that step up every time," said Jared Fagan, a team captain and starting linebacker. "Nobody's offense has really been able to get something going against us---we step up every time and get the ball back for our offense."

On the Bulldogs' opening drive, Kurt Thirtyacre intercepted a pass by Garfield's Malcolm Byrd, returning it 41 yards to the Garfield 10 to set up Johnson's 6 yard touchdown run.

Eastlake's defense, which yielded just 134 total yards, preserved the whitewash in the second half.

After Garfield running back Dontae Jenkins' 38-yard run midway through the third quarter gave the Bulldogs their first venture into Eastlake territory, Helwege intercepted Byrd in the end zone.

It was Garfield's first2and last---scoring threat.

"I think if we play a team that's one dimensional, our kids are very good at taking away what they do best, and I felt like we did that again tonight," Dales said.

That bodes well for Eastlake, which faces another one-dimensional foe in Lake Washington (3-1, 4-1) at 7:30pm Friday.

While the Kangaroos are a stronger team than the Bulldogs, more than two-thirds of the Lake Washington offense is piped through running back Justin Kim, 4A KingCo's leading rusher.

Kim has carried the ball 98 times for 1,012 yards and 15 touchdowns.

By comparison, Lake Washington quarterback Kirby Young has passed for 272 yards.

That's less than one-quarter of the 1,117 yards that Wolves quarterback Ryan Robertson has thrown for in Eastlake's balanced attack.

Staked to an early lead against the Bulldogs, the standout junior converted to game-manager, completing just 10 of 15 passes for 137 yards.

But he didn't need flashy numbers for teammates to continue to rave about his ability.

"Ry-Ro, he's amazing," said Helwege, referring to Robertson by his nickname. "He's stepped it up this year...and he controls the offense out there."

Steel said he's been impressed with Robertson's maturation.

"He's a great leader for a junior," he said. "He takes control in the huddle, keeps calm, doesn't freak out".

"He's improved probably the most of anyone I've ever known in my life, compared to his sophomore year."

Robertson did complete a 35 yard touchdown pass on a screen to Steel with 7:33 left in the first half.

The gutsy play-call came on the fourth and 12, with the Garfield defense sending an all-out blitz.

Robertson beat the pass-rush, and Steel found a seam in the defense and scampered untouched for the score.

"It was the most perfect play you could call," Steel said. "They blitzed hard, and then I had my blocking downfield with all my linemen---all my big linemen just set up a fence."

On a team loaded at the skill positions, a vastly underrated line has been one secret to Eastlake's success.

The offensive line---a unit that includes a rotation of seniors Alex Tank, Michael Laux and Jyri Juntunen and juniors Clark, Drew Schaefer, Ross Teare, and Scott Hunter---has been the heart and soul of Eastlake's team, Steel said.

It's also improved during the season, according to Dales.

"I'm real pleased with how we're getting better and better up front," he said. "We're getting better with our run blocking; our pass protection has been very good from the start, and that's not always the easiest thing."

Against Garfield, the line opened up huge holes for Steel, who galloped closer to Eastlake's career rushing record with 12 carries for 105 yards and a score.

The senior running back has 1,112 career rushing yards and four regular season game to eclipse 2002 graduate Joel Newberry's school mark of 1,309 yards.

"I'm not even worried about the rushing record---it's really just about winning the games," Steel said. "If it happens, it happens, but we're focusing on winning KingCo and doing well in the playoffs."

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