(Snoqualmie, WA) The thunder you heard coming down from the Cascade foothills Friday night was a Clash of the Titans in the 4A Kingco where the Eastlake Wolves traveled to face the Mt Si Wildcats. Coming into the game the Wolves were tied with Bothell at 3-0 atop the league standings while Mt Si was a half game behind at 3-1 with their lone loss to Skyline who was 2-2 along with Woodinville.
The perfect ending for Mt Si appeared to be in their hands with a 28-14 lead with just 5 minutes to play and Woodinville pulling away from Bothell so the win over Eastlake coupled with a Bothell loss would leave the Kingco in a 3-way tie all 3-1 with the Wildcats holding the 1st tie-breaker with the win over the Wolves. Eastlake and Bothell have yet to play each as have Mt Si and Bothell as well.
The funny thing about sports though is just when you think something has been clinched the unexpected happens like a team scoring 17 points in the final 5 minutes of game that included one team stopping a 2 point go-ahead conversion, a successful onside kick and a walk-off 37-yard field goal. The chances of all of those things happening are a huge longshot but as John Michael Montgomery sang in his top 5 country hit “Life’s a Dance”, “Had sure things blow up in my face,
Seen the longshot win the race.”
Let’s start from the beginning in this instant classic. Eastlake took the opening possession from their own 35 into the end-zone on a 3 yard blast from Jack Edmunds, Alex Dreher added the PAT for a 7-0 lead with 7:12 on the clock after the 11-play drive.
Mt Si answered with their 1st opportunity which began on their own 44. The Wildcats took 8 plays and about 4 minutes to finish off a drive of 8 runs by RB Beau Phillips who finished it off with a nifty 19-yard scamper. The PAT was wide though and Eastlake led 7-6.
The Wolves began their 2nd drive on their own 24 and they would again light the scoreboard on a 2:53, 8-play drive capped off with QB Landon Renfroe hitting Marcus Angiuli for a 28-yard strike, add the extra point and Eastlake led 14-6 with 37-seconds to play in the 1st quarter. It would have been tough to predict that the Wolves would then be held scoreless for the next 31 minutes of the game.
The teams would exchange possessions until Mt Si got a huge interception by Peter Dagleisch at the Eastlake 21. The Wildcats took 3 plays for Phillips to bust one from the 17 in for the score. Phillips then surged in behind the offensive line for the 2 point conversion to tie the game at 14 and it would remain that way to the half.
Defense was the name of the game for Mt Si in the 2nd half and they struck quickly with the 1st of 2 pick 6’s. After a Mt Si punt dropped the ball on the Wolves 5 the 1st play of the 2nd half saw Beau Phillips step in front of a Renfroe pass at the 19 and returned it for 6. Cooper Britton hit the PAT and the Wildcats had their 1st lead in the game with 7:42 to play in the 3rd quarter.
After several possessions with interceptions, fumbles and turn over on downs the score remained 21-14 until just about the 6-minute mark of the 5th quarter. Eastlake was driving but lightning struck again for Mt Si as the pass rush was getting to Renfroe and he tried to get the ball downfield throwing off his back foot and couldn’t get a lot of zip on it. This allowed Mt Si linebacker Brock Gates to snatch the ball out of the air on his own 32 yard line and he took it to the house 68-yards for the touchdown, add the PAT and with 5:58 to play in the game it was 28-14.
Just when most thought that was the nail in the coffin, little did we know it was all just beginning. Eastlake took care of business taking over on their own 29 with 5:52 to play and went 71-yards in 9 plays, 8 passing with the 1 rushing the final 4 yards taken in by Renfroe, with the PAT it was now 28-21 Mt Si with 3:09 to play.
Eastlake booted it fairly deep and Mt Si took over on their own 35. They would bust off an 11-yard run to mid-field but a holding call pushed them back to their own 25 and they ended up punting giving the ball back to Eastlake on their own 33 with 1:40 to play in the game and trailing by 7. It took just 6 plays for the Wolves to pull within 1 point when Renfroe found Bryson Hodges in the back of the end-zone for 6 with just 28-seconds to go in the game.
Eastlake Head Coach Scott Hare decided to go for it. Several of the Wildcats had been hobbling on and off the field with cramps and he felt they had Mt Si reeling so they went for the win. The play-call was a dive right into the heart of the Mt Si defense with their short yardage back Jack Edmunds and Edmunds was stuffed sending the Mt Si sideline and the packed home stands into a frenzy thinking that was likely the game winner with the Wildcats leading 28-27 and just 28-seconds to go. Plus word was getting around about Bothell losing big to Woodinville all was perfect in the Mt Si. world. Except those 28-seconds.
Only hope for Eastlake was to convert an onside kick so Mt Si sent out their hands team and they lined up as Dreher teed up the3 ball. Dreher slapped at the top of the ball spinning end-over-end and as the ball was approaching a wildcat the ball hit the ground and popped up like a forward pass straight into the arms of Marcus Angiuli and Eastlake had a pulse at the Mt Si 44-yard line.
Our crew also noticed on the PAT’s that Dreher was blasting them so high they went over the top of the net and out into the parking lot so they only needed a field goal and did not need to go the full 44 yards.
On the 1st play it appeared the game was iced when the Wildcats picked off Renfroe for a 5th time. But a yellow flag on the field changed the entire game, a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty against Mt Si moved the ball all the way to the 29 with 23-seconds to play. From the 29 it would be a 46-yard attempt which very well could be in Dreher’s range but every yard they could get closer would help the Senior Kicker for a last second chance to be the hero.
On the next play Eastlake not backing down from throwing the ball but again almost threw a pick after a mix up on the route. So with 19-seconds to go the Wolves ran a keeper with Renfroe but another yellow flag came out but it was offensive holding and moved the Wolves all the way back to the 39-yard line making it a 56-yard field goal attempt. With just 14-seconds to work with Renfroe dropped back to pass and hit Grady Woodward up the far side line and he was forced out at the 20 yard line with 6-seconds to play. Coach Hare did not hesitate and sent our Dreher for the game winning field goal attempt.
With the play clock ticking down the snap was good, the hold was good and Dreher drilled it right down the middle with plenty of length leftover for the game winner. The clock struck zero and a stunned silence on the home side while the visitors were out of their minds with disbelief as to what just happened.
Games like these are responsible for the old cliche`, “it’s too bad one of these teams had to lose”. A remarkable game ended with the thud of a kicker’s foot connecting square on and through the uprights.
With the win Eastlake is now in control of 1st place and simply need to take care of their business they will clinch the title but there is still plenty of work for them before they can be comfortable in claiming the league title. They are now 4-0 while Mt Si drops to 3-2. With Woodinville’s win over Bothell 38-20 the scramble is on for 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th places. Below our coverage of this game are the other scores and updated standings.
Our “Education as a career” MVP went to Grady Woodward had 9 catches for 168 yards with some huge catches setting up the scoring including the game winning field goal.
Other stats from our crew had Renfroe 22/40 for 382 yards and 2 TD, 4 INTs and 1 rushing TD. Bryson Hodges had 5 catches for 104 and a TD and Angiuli 4 for 45.
Mt Si relied on their ground attack and defense with Beau Phillips leading the way with 25 carries for 125 yards and 2 TD and a pick 6 interception. Brock Gates added a pick 6 as well and Jake Johnson had 2 picks for the Wildcat defense.
Eastlake will have another huge showdown next Friday when they host Bothell, a win would seal the Kingco League Title. Mt Si has a non-league game at Chiawana on Saturday. The other Kingco conference games as the scramble for 2nd, 3rd and 4th is on has Skyline at Issaquah and North Creek at Woodinville.
To watch this Instant Classic you can do so on the NFHS (subscription) Network on this link: Eastlake at Mt Si 10/13/2023
Mt Si ties it just before halftime
Mt Si’s Brock Gates Takes it to the House
Eastlake pulls within 1 late in the game
Mt Si stuffs the 2-point conversion
Eastlake hits the perfect on-side kick
Eastlake drains the game winner
Other Kingco Results
Woodinville 38, Bothell 20
North Creek 14, Issaquah 0
Inglemoor 27, Mountlake Terrace 20*
Eastmont 21, Skyline 3*
Bonney Lake 33, Redmond 7*