Kirsch performs on big stage
While he threw his first interception of the season on his team’s second to last drive of the game, sophomore quarterback Harley Kirsch’s performance up until that point made sure it was but an insignificant footnote on an otherwise stellar night in a 28-14 EC win over O’Dea.
The rangy southpaw finished his first state semi-final game as a starter completing 19 of his 30 passes for 294 yards and three scores, including a 64-yard strike to Colin MacIlvennie that made it 14-7 after the Irish pulled even.
That throw came with pressure in his face and head coach Jeremy Thielbahr said it was his quarterback’s moxie against the Irish pass rush that was most impressive.
“He got hit all over the place out there,” Thielbahr said. “He made incredible plays in the Dome, under the lights. He just had a phenomenal game.”
The challenge grows this week against a Bellevue defense that shutout high-powered Shadle Park and quarterback Brett Rypien in the other semi-final.
Wellington does it all, again
Sophomore Brandon Wellington wasted little time getting into the act in the rematch against the Irish, intercepting a Pierre Le Dorze pass on the first defensive drive.
He added another later in the game and also recorded four tackles on defense.
But that was only half the story.
As he has throughout the year and especially since senior running back Henry Jarvis has been out with an injury, Wellington was also a main cog in the offense.
He carried the ball 14 times, a team high, rushing for 65 yards (4.6 per carry) and a 22 yard touchdown and also caught three passes for 57 yards.
In his team’s four playoff wins, Wellington is averaging better than 160 all-purpose yards per game and has seven touchdowns.
The Crusaders scored on their second drive of the night on a strike to Matt Laris from Kirsch. JOSH SUMAN, ISSAQUAH-SAMMAMISH REPORTER
EC kicks to O’Dea during their semi-final game in the Tacoma Dome. JOSH SUMAN, ISSAQUAH-SAMMAMISH REPORTER