Issaquah running back Isaac Pak rushed for two touchdowns in a 42-25 loss to North Creek on Nov. 2. Benjamin Olson/staff photo

Issaquah running back Isaac Pak rushed for two touchdowns in a 42-25 loss to North Creek on Nov. 2. Benjamin Olson/staff photo

Issaquah season ends with 42-25 KingCo football playoff loss to North Creek

Eagles find success in first year under head coach Joshua Brookshire.

When Joshua Brookshire first met with his seniors after becoming the new head coach of the Issaquah football team, he told them that he wasn’t trying to build a program for the future, he wanted to win with the players he had now.

Even though the Eagles’ season came to an end with a 42-25 loss in a physical 4A KingCo playoff game against the North Creek Jaguars on Nov. 2, Brookshire liked what he saw from his team.

“I’ve been really impressed with the quality of the young guys in our building,” Brookshire said. “I’m just really proud of the way they played. We knew it was going to be a tough game and a physical game.”

North Creek found the end zone first with a 4-yard touchdown from running back Izayah Boss to give the Jaguars a 7-0 lead with 29 seconds left in the first quarter. The Jaguars doubled their lead when quarterback Jack Charlton threw a 71-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Srijan Bogati with 5:29 left in the second quarter.

The Eagles responded with a 4-yard touchdown run from senior Gaje Gunter to make it a 14-7 game at halftime. The Eagles this year have their players usually only play on one side of the ball, so for Gunter, who usually plays defensive back, this was a special opportunity.

“I can’t express how awesome it was,” Gunter said. “I’ve been waiting the whole season, and my whole life, to be on offense and score a touchdown in your senior year of football. To score a touchdown in the playoffs, it means everything to me. It’s the best feeling in the whole world.”

With their first drive of the second half, the Jaguars extended their lead with a 3-yard touchdown run from Charlton with 8:06 left in the third quarter. On the ensuing drive, the Eagles responded with a rushing touchdown of their own, courtesy of a 2-yard run from running back Isaac Pak to cut the North Creek lead to 21-14.

After Gunter intercepted a pass by Charlton, Issaquah kicker Arpan Kundu made a 25-yard field to make it a 21-17 game going into the fourth quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the Jaguars scored three rushing touchdowns, a 2-yard run from Charlton, a 42-yard run from Boss and an 8-yard run from fullback Jody Notoa, to pull away. Pak scored the Eagles’ only touchdown in the fourth quarter, a 2-yard touchdown run. The Eagles converted the two-point conversion with a pass from quarterback Jack Githens to tight end Stoss Hansen with five minutes left in regulation.

For the Issaquah seniors, the 42-25 loss brought an end to their high school football careers. Senior defensive back Cutter Hillock said Issaquah football has been part of his life since he played on the youth team as a third-grader.

“I’ve had Issaquah across my chest and I’ve bled purple and yellow,” Hillock said. “It’s weird, because after every season it was, ‘All right, back in the gym working for next season.’ It’s weird to know it’s over and that I’ll never wear that name across my chest again. It’s been special, and I’m so thankful for these coaches this year.”

Hillock said he was proud of what the young team accomplished this year, going further than people had expected.

“I’m so proud of these kids for fighting for us,” Hillock said about the younger players on the team. “They knew it was our last shot.”

Even after the game, Gunter still said it hasn’t sunk in yet that his time with the Eagles had ended.

“It went by so fast,” Gunter said. “I can’t really describe the feeling. It hasn’t really hit me yet that we don’t have football anymore in our lives. This program has meant so much to me, I’ve put in so much work. It’s surreal to be done.”

While there were plenty of important moments this year for the Issaquah football team (4-5 overall), its dramatic 12-11 victory on senior night over Skyline on Oct. 25, stands out. The Eagles trailed late in the game, but a failed punt attempt by the Spartans set up a game-winning touchdown for Issaquah.

Hillock said he had been dreaming about that game against Skyline in his senior year since he was in elementary school.

“That’s one of my favorite things that has ever happened to me,” Hillock said. “I thought all hope was lost, and their punter’s knee touched the ground and we got the ball back and scored. It was unreal.”

Reflecting on his first year as the Eagles head coach, Brookshire said he loves it in Issaquah and is excited for next year.

“I think we have a good community, great teachers in the building, great administration, a really good booster club and awesome parents and kids,” Brookshire said.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@issaquahreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.issaquahreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

Issaquah quarterback Jack Githens (10) runs the ball during a KingCo playoff game against North Creek on Nov. 2. Benjamin Olson/staff photo

Issaquah quarterback Jack Githens (10) runs the ball during a KingCo playoff game against North Creek on Nov. 2. Benjamin Olson/staff photo

More in Sports

Photo courtesy of Panthers Youth Rugby
Panthers Youth Rugby rolls into action

Panthers Youth Rugby is encouraging boys and girls in middle school and… Continue reading

Photo of Eastlake Little League’s All Star Team. From L to R: (Back row) Jackson Wheeler, Kellen Kinney, Sanath Chari, James Ort III, Sule Tian, Eli Jones, Pryce Eadon. (Front row) JJ Hamiltion, Sawyer Todd, Ryder Oswalt, Walter Steinbok, Logan Rausch, Harrison Militello. Photo Courtesy of Jeff Steinbok.
Eastlake’s time at Little League World Series comes to an end

The boys of Eastlake Little League’s 12U all-star team’s time at the… Continue reading

A Decatur High School student in Federal Way participates in a conditioning workout in Feb. 2021 as the state eased back in to in-person activities. Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing
State announces mask requirements for student sports, performing arts

Athletes are not required to wear masks when participating in sports of any contact level while outside.

Teaser
Eastlake all-stars score spot in Little League World Series

Eastlake Little League’s 12U all star team was crowned Northwest Regional Champions… Continue reading

Screenshot of video obtained by Redmond police shows Richard Sherman trying to break into the Redmond home of his in-laws.
Former Seattle Seahawks player Richard Sherman charged with five misdemeanors in King County

Charges were filed following an incident at home of Sherman’s in-laws in Redmond.

Screenshot
Redmond Police arrest former Seattle Seahawk Richard Sherman

Redmond Police allege former Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman crashed into a… Continue reading

Snoqualmie Casino unveiled the first immersive Seahawks-branded table game experience Sept. 18, 2020, in a ribbon cutting dedication with Snoqualmie Tribe Council members and Snoqualmie Casino executives. Courtesy photo
Gambling Commission OKs pacts with tribes for sports betting

Agreements with 15 tribes await approval by the governor and the feds.

t
Issaquah notches girls soccer victory

Issaquah’s girls soccer team celebrates a goal during its 4-0 victory over… Continue reading

t
Registration open for Panthers Youth Rugby

By Sophie Demandolx Special to the Reporter If you are a teenager… Continue reading

Kentwood High football. FILE PHOTO
WIAA Executive Board revises Season 1 sports in response to state guidelines

Practices scheduled to begin Feb. 1 for football, volleyball, soccer and 5 other sports

The Mercer Island boys basketball celebrates their 61-36 victory over Interlake in the 3A KingCo championship game on Feb. 11, 2020, at Sammamish High School. File photo
WIAA pushes back return to play for prep sports

Season 2 now begins Feb. 1 and seasons have been shortened to seven weeks each.

In this file photo from March 2020, the Federal Way High School boys basketball team reacts in the final minutes of the state quarterfinals game against Mt. Si High School. File photo
New guidelines released for return of prep sports in WA

The new plan places counties and sports in three-tier systems. No signs of a quicker return to play.