Eastlake looking to get back on track with division opener against Bothell | Prep football preview

The Wolves lost for the first time this season last week to Skyline, and welcome Bothell for its Crest Division opener.

Eastlake (2-1) VS. Bothell (2-1), 7 p.m., Friday

If anyone was expecting to find Eastlake head coach Don Bartel in a state of panic after his team’s 21-6 loss to Plateau rival Skyline, they would be sorely disappointed.

Bartel and the Wolves were back on the practice field Tuesday in preparation for their KingCo Crown Division opener against Bothell on Friday and Eastlake’s first-year head coach said while the loss was certainly difficult to stomach for coaches and players, it can become much more.

“I told our kids it can be great for us if we make it great,” he said. “I think it was really, really good for us.”

Unlike in its first two games, where the offense was able to get untracked in wins over Lakes and Eastside Catholic, the Wolves struggled to move the ball and were hit with multiple big plays on defense, including a 96-yard touchdown run from Skyline running back Rashaad Boddie.

“In the first half, we didn’t go as hard as we did in the weeks before,” Bartel said. “That is big deal for us.”

The challenge gets no easier for Eastlake this week with the Crest Division opener, as 2-1 Bothell comes for a visit and brings along an offense that has scored 42 points or more twice already on the young season.

Junior quarterback Ross Bowers, who has been taking varsity snaps since his freshman season, leads that group and piloted a two touchdown comeback in the season-opener against Coeur d’Alene in the Emerald City Kickoff Classic, leading the Cougars to a 44-43 win in the final minutes.

Bartel said when he and his staff turned on film of the Cougars’ signal-caller, his increased role in the offense is readily apparent.

“You just see a kid who is super confident,” Bartel said. “He will do everything, from stretching you laterally to stretching you vertically, and he definitely has the arm to do it.”

While the Wolves were unable to find enough offense to beat the Spartans, the defense held Skyline off the scoreboard in the second half and has already faced a dynamic passing quarterback in Eastside Catholic’s Harley Kirsch.

“Our kids did respond,” Bartel said. “It was good to show us we’re not invincible. We’re whatever we choose to be.”