When it was all over the Eastside Catholic Crusaders football team hoisted the Class 3A Metro League championship trophy for an unforgettable celebration.
Eastside Catholic clinched the Metro League title courtesy of a 49-6 victory against the Roosevelt Roughriders on Oct. 20 at Memorial Stadium in Seattle. Eastside Catholic completed the 2017 regular season with a perfect record of 8-0. The Crusaders, who will have a bye next week, will compete in the first round of the postseason on Nov. 3 or Nov. 4. The Crusaders were determined to capture the Metro Championship after falling short of attaining the coveted hardware in 2016.
“It is a huge deal for us. It is a hard thing to get. You got to battle this tough Metro Conference. We lost it last year (2016 season) to O’Dea. It is unique to win a championship. I’m just proud of our kids and I’m excited for this playoff run we are about to make,” Crusaders head coach Jeremy Thielbahr said.
Eastside Catholic hard-hitting senior safety Malik Putney said the future is promising for his team in the playoffs.
“We got the Metro championship and we are just one step closer to winning the state championship. We got a bye next week which is good so we can get everyone healthy. Everyone on this team is doing their job and everybody is willing to work and play for one another,” Putney said.
In the regular season finale, the offense and defense unveiled stalwart performances. Eastside Catholic linebacker Evan Greve had a 26-yard interception return for a touchdown with 9:34 left in the second quarter, extending his team’s lead to 29-0. With 3:19 left in the first half, Crusaders’ defensive back Andrew Peterson scored on a 90-yard interception return for a touchdown, giving the Crusaders a commanding 43-0 lead. Crusaders’ quarterback Hayden Harris had two touchdown passes against Roosevelt. Harris hit sophomore wide receiver Gee Scott Jr. on a 69-yard touchdown pass on the Crusaders first offensive play from scrimmage. Harris also connected with David Pritchard on a 35-yard touchdown strike on a perfectly thrown pass on a go-route down the left sideline in the first quarter. Eastside Catholic running backs Gio Ursino, Derek Ray and Tohi Angilau each scored a rushing touchdown apiece in the contest. Ursino, who rumbled for a 42-yard touchdown scamper in the second quarter, is excited about his team’s momentum heading into the playoffs.
“It is kind of a culmination of everything we put into the season so far,” Ursino said of winning the Metro title. “We’ve been working hard to get back to our brand of Crusaders football. This means we’ve gotten one step closer to doing that.”
The Crusaders, who lost to Kamiakin Braves in the Class 3A state semifinals last year, are determined to not let history repeat itself in 2017.
“We fell short last year. We want to do better for our seniors this year. We don’t want to have our seniors to have to end it that way. This (upcoming playoff run) is for them. This is for the senior class,” Ursino said.