MARYSVILLE — There may be more heartbreaking ways to end an undefeated football season than with a season-ending loss in the playoffs, but they’re hard to imagine.
Brandon Wellington caught a 75-yard touchdown pass with 37 seconds left to lift sixth-ranked Eastside Catholic to a 42-35 win over previously unbeaten Marysville-Pilchuck in the 3A state football playoffs Saturday night.
Wellington’s third touchdown of the game came after Marysville-Pilchuck had tied the score on a 10-yard touchdown run by Austin Joyner with 56.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
The kickoff gave Eastside Catholic the ball at its own 25, and it took only one play for the Crusaders to score.
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“The whole game they stacked the corner right there and I thought I could beat him with my speed,” Wellington said. “(Quarterback) Harley (Kirsch) threw a great pass right over my shoulder and I was able to make the play.”
Wellington, who also had two rushing touchdowns and 117 yards on 21 carries, admitted it took every ounce of energy to beat the Tomahawks.
“I’m just a little bit (tired),” he said with a grin. “We knew it would take everything we had. Coming into this game we had a lot of momentum and we just need to carry it forward next week.”
Wellington caught the game-winning pass at his own 40, cut to the sideline and quickly put distance between himself and the Marysville secondary.
The win put Eastside Catholic at 9-2 on the season while No. 3 Marysville-Pilchuck finished at 10-1.
“This has been an incredible group of kids to work with,” Marysville-Pilchuck coach Brandon Carson said. “It’s just sad that there are a lot of teams still playing that we are more than capable of beating, but if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best and we laid it on the line tonight for 48 minutes.”
Marysville-Pilchuck had four turnovers in the game in losing for the second straight season to Eastside Catholic in the playoffs.
Joyner finished with 196 yards on 20 carries for the Tomahawks.
Eastside Catholic’s Kirsch completed 10 of 20 passes for 223 yards.