The Crusaders dominated in every way on the way to their 11th consecutive win and a spot in the quarterfinals.
The recipe for a blowout: a blocked punt, an interception return for a touchdown, two touchdown passes of longer than 50 yards and a stifling defense that created good field position.
Add up all those pieces in one night and you get a 69-13 win for No. 3 Eastside Catholic against Kelso in the first round of the Class 3A state football playoffs on Saturday.
“Everything just went perfect for us tonight,” Eastside Catholic quarterback Trey Reynolds said.
Reynolds completed 5 of 8 passes for 219 yards and four touchdowns, all in the first half. Henry Jarvis rushed for 60 yards and three touchdowns. Brandon Wellington tacked on two more rushing TDs.
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The Crusaders started eight first-half drives at their 45-yard line or better. They needed only nine plays to score four touchdowns in the opening quarter.
Eastside Catholic (11-0), which plays Marysville-Pilchuck in the quarterfinals, controlled every phase of the game and did so from the beginning against Kelso.
“Things just clicked for us,” Crusaders coach Jeremy Thielbahr said, “and they just had an off day.”
Eastside Catholic’s defense looked downright dominant.
More than once, Eastside Catholic nearly dropped Kelso quarterback Aaron Adams in the backfield while he was attempting a handoff.
When Kelso started driving late in the first half, Dylan Mahosky picked off a pass in the end zone. The Crusaders blocked a punt. They recovered a fumble on a sack and stripped the ball from a Kelso running back before he went down.
Carter Gonzalez returned an interception for a touchdown, and Peter Kimball had a long kickoff return while also picking off a pass. Brian Cox flew all over the field, and Deion Fetui sealed the inside.
The Crusaders held Kelso (9-2) to 91 first-half yards.
“Our defense takes so much pressure off us,” Reynolds said. “We just a play a lot looser when they’re playing like that, and they’re the reason we scored so many points.”