Sammamish opened up the 2008 Crossroads Cup with a huge play. They ended the first-half with another. Unfortunately, what happened between those plays ultimately doomed them and sent the team to another loss against Interlake.
Brady Anderson had a pair of huge first-half kick returns that led to Totem touchdowns, but Interlake used a flurry of second quarter scoring to distance themselves and hold on to win the annual rivalry game 55-17.
Anderson returned the opening kickoff 73-yards to the Interlake two-yard line and Zach Erickson bullied his way into the end zone on the next play to give Sammamish a quick 7-0 lead only 20 seconds into the game. But Interlake (4-1, 2-1 KingCo 3A) rallied to score the game’s next 21 points and held Sammamish scoreless after the half.
“You can see the resilency of our guys,” said Interlake coach Sheldon Cross. “They could have backed down after that, but they didn’t.”
Interlake’s main weapon was junior running back Brett Kirschner, finally healthy after suffering a knee injury in the Saints opening game. The big back bruised his way for 235 yards and four touchdowns in the game, including three in the first half that helped to give the Saints a 35-17 lead at the half.
“We’re going to look at what the defense is giving us and they were playing off, giving us the run game,” Cross said. “Obviously with Brett back, we wanted to get him going. And he wanted this one.”
Kirschner’s efforts were combined with another effective game from Interlake sophomore quarterback Matt Malos, who passed for 209 yards and two touchdowns, both to junior wide receiver Dylan Amell. In five games, Malos has passed for 1,129 yards and 15 touchdowns, with only two interceptions.
“This was a big game for Matt,” Cross said. “He grew up with these kids; his brother went to Sammamish. And he showed great poise.”
While Interlake was carving up the Totems defense, Sammamish (0-5, 0-3) wasn’t helped with an ineffective offense. The Totems finished the first quarter with -4 yards of total offense and had only 47 yards in the first half.
If not for Anderson’s big returns that set up both the opening score and a Nick Hartigan to Aaron Phillips touchdown pass with only 13 seconds left in the half, Sammamish very well could have finished the game with only three points, a Chris Lider 24-yard field goal in the second quarter.
“It was an awesome win for us, especially defensively,” said Interlake center and middle linebacker Evan Spading. “Besides the two kickoffs that led to touchdowns, we shut them down. It could have been 55-3.”
The Saints were also the benefactors of four great defensive plays that keep the momentum squarely in the hands of Interlake. Saints lineman Patrick Lindsley and linebacker Lucas Baughey-Gill both picked off tipped Hartigan passes and defensive back Genki Kawashima intercepted his fourth pass of the year to stifle the Totems offense.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, Kawashima returned a blocked field goal 77 yards for another Saints touchdown late in the third quarter.
“Those big plays were huge,” Cross said. “We talk about that all the time; program-changing big plays…things we haven’t had at Interlake. Those types of plays change the culture of a program.”
As could be expected for a rivalry game, emotions ran high in the game, including several personal foul penalties on both sides. Things became especially heated late in the fourth quarter, when Sammamish incurred two-straight personal foul penalties for late hits on Malos with the Saints deep in Totems territory. The penalties resulted in Interlake scoring on the following play, and with a 55-17 lead, the Saints went for a two-point conversion, which was not successful.
“They deliberately hit our quarterback twice, just teed off on him,” Cross said about the decision to go for two with the big lead. “We were just trying to run the ball…we went for two because, you know, Matt’s our guy.”
With a 33-7 win in last years game, the Saints have now won two-straight Crossroads Cups.
“33-7 is awesome, but 55-17 is great,” Spading said. “This game sets us going; we’ve got this playoff run going strong now.”
Bellevue 45, Mercer Island 10
Bellevue scored all of its points before the half as the Wolverines rolled to a KingCo 3A victory over Mercer Island.
Sean Coley scored twice for Bellevue (5-0, 2-0) on the ground and Taylor Anderson hauled in a 28-yard pass from Tommy Castle to pace the Wolverines, who also received rushing scores from David Altomare and Will Fields.
Houston Hubert went 5-5 on extra points and also kicked a 38-yard field goal in the win.
Ryan Blumenstein scored the only touchdown of the game for the Islanders (1-4, 0-3), a three-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Newport 21, Redmond 14
Redmond scored the first 14 points of the game before Newport railled for 21-straight points in the KingCo 4A win for the Knights.
Sean Shewey scored on a pair of touchdown runs for Redmond (0-5, 0-2 KingCo 4A) before Ian Case tied the game with a pair of scores for Newport (3-2, 1-1). Jonte Giacomino’s 63-yard run in the third quarter proved to be the winning score for the Knights.
Joel Willits can be reached at email@example.com or at 425-453-5045.