Sports

Wolves face unbeaten Eastlake

The only guarantee in the opening round of the 4A state high school football playoff game between South Kitsap and Eastlake is that a Wolves team will win.

The South Kitsap Wolves (8-1) take on the Eastlake Wolves (9-0) Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Eastlake High School Stadium in Redmond.

Eastlake enters its first state playoff game in the school’s nine-year existence, while SK is entering its 22nd straight state tournament.

Experience or not, SK coach D.J. Sigurdson said Eastlake is a very talented team.

Having three Eastlake games on tape, Sigurdson said his team will need to be prepared for Eastlake’s stingy defense and potent offense.

“They have a really aggressive defense and they run all kinds of formations on offense,” Sigurdson said. “They’ve got a guy who can throw it well and guys that can run it.”

The guy who can throw it is Alex Bean, the KingCo’s leading passer. He is 76 of 137 for 1,460 yards with only three interceptions and 17 touchdowns. That doesn’t include 63 carries for 461 yards and nine touchdowns.

When Bean isn’t running his star running back Joel Newberry is. Newberry, who rushed for 1,044 yards and 10 touchdowns, has a dislocated shoulder and is questionable for the game.

If SK has any hope of stopping the passing game, the secondary is going to have to stop senior Brett Upchurch.

The receiver has 32 catches for 657 yards and nine touchdowns.

When he’s not getting touches, receiver Jordan Flowers picks up the slack with 10 catches for 256 yards.

To say Eastlake dominated the KingCo league this season is an understatement.

But the strength of the league has been questioned.

Bothell is the second-place team from the league but had just a 6-3 record.

Eastlake has outscored it’s opponent 361-113 for a 40-points-per-game average.

It’s closest games included a 24-13 win against Woodinville and a 24-7 win against Lake Washington.

Eastlake has out-rushed its opponents 2,274 yards to 917, out-passed its opponents 1,560 to 878, and more than doubled its foes’ total yards, 4,255 to 2,268.

The one weakness statistically for Eastlake is its propensity for penalties.

The team is averaging nine penalties per game. Overall they have committed 81 penalties for 655 yards.

In the last two playoff games for SK — losses to Kamiak (2000) and Bethel (1999) — the losses came from SK’s inability to stop the quarterback.

It’s obvious the Eastlake offense revolves around Bean, and SK will need to shut him down if the Wolves — South Kitsap’s version — expect to move on to the quarterfinals.

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