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Prep Football Notebook | Last chance for Eastlake

Posted Thursday, October 12, 2006 by Michael Ko

Thursday, October 12, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

Prep Football Notebook | Last chance for Eastlake

By Michael Ko
Seattle Times
staff reporter

The first-place prize will be big enough. But Mike Eldredge and several Eastlake teammates should have a little extra motivation Saturday night against Bothell.

The 7 p.m. game at Pop Keeney Stadium in Bothell features teams with perfect KingCo 4A records, and senior classes that played each other for three junior football championships in middle school.

The Skyview Cougars (the junior program for kids who grew up in Bothell) blew out the Eastlake junior Wolves all three games.

Many of the faces are familiar. Quarterbacking the Cougars then, as he is now, is Bothell's Cody Atkinson. Dane Steel and Jared Fagan played for the junior Eastlake teams.

"It's like we're trying to get revenge from seventh grade," said Eldredge, then a scrawny safety and now a senior starting linebacker and one of the conference's best defensive players, with eight sacks and 10 tackles for loss this season.

Bothell - the high school - beat Eastlake in 2003 and the teams didn't play the last two seasons, which means this crop of Eastlake seniors has never tasted success against the Cougars.

"This is the last chance I ever have to play them," Eldredge said. "I'll definitely have that in the back of my mind."

Coach Gene Dales of Eastlake (5-1 overall, 5-0 KingCo), ranked No. 2 in the state, is particularly pleased with the play of Eldredge, a backup coming into this season who stepped in when Brent Boyle broke his arm during summer camp.

"He has just been lights out from the first game of the year," Dales said.

Eldredge and the three other starting linebackers - Fagan, Alex Tank and Bradley Tonahill - will be key to slowing down Bothell's ground game, which shredded a tough Woodinville defense last week for 199 yards.

Jon Kirchner of Bothell (5-1, 5-0) has battled several injuries - a staph infection in his right hand, a tweaked ankle and then another infection in his knee - but hasn't missed a game and leads the Cougars in rushing with 599 yards and nine touchdowns. He rushed for a season-best 158 yards against Woodinville.

"He's had a tough go," said Bothell coach Tom Bainter. "Now that he's healthy, he's showcasing what he can do."

Times staff reporter Sandy Ringer and correspondent John Boyle and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright (c) 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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