Trey Reynolds completed 24 of 31 passes for 363 yards and four touchdowns before halftime as the Crusaders claimed their first Metro crown since 2008.
If it were a prize fight, it would have been called in the first quarter.
Eastside Catholic hit Nathan Hale with its quick-strike passing game early, and it seemed to daze the Raiders.
Trey Reynolds completed 24 of 31 passes for 363 yards and four touchdowns before halftime in a 50-8 Crusaders victory Friday night at Memorial Stadium in the Metro League championship game.
Reynolds finished with 377 yards passing as third-ranked Eastside Catholic (9-0) won a Metro title with a perfect regular-season record for the first time since 1993.
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The Crusaders’ last Metro championship came in 2008. O’Dea has had a virtual stranglehold on the league crown, but a 35-21 win over the Irish on Oct. 12 gave Eastside Catholic control of the Mountain Division.
“This was a big win for our program and our guys,” said second-year coach Jeremy Thielbahr after his team churned out 557 yards of offense. “It was our goal to come out and run the gamut and be able to execute at a high level like that. The Metro Mountain Division is a war division. Our division is a tough division with tough opponents.
“They came out to try to stop the run through a blitz package, and so we threw it. They tried to take something away from us, and we attacked it.”
Eastside Catholic advances to the preliminary round of the state playoffs as Metro’s No. 1 seed and hosts the WesCo No. 4 seed.
Nathan Hale (7-2), which had just 32 yards rushing and 93 total yards, moves on as the No. 2 seed from Metro and faces the Narrows League’s No. 3 team.
“Usually, we go to the run game, but luckily it didn’t rain tonight and it was a lot easier to catch the ball,” said EC receiver Justin Musser, who had seven catches for 82 yards and a TD against Hale. “The offensive line did great tonight.”
Henry Jarvis provided first-half TDs on a 69-yard screen pass and a 5-yard run. He finished with 61 yards.
“We can run it and we can pass it,” said Jarvis, EC’s season leader in rushing. “We can do both.”
Freshman running back Brandon Wellington crashed in for a 9-yard TD burst up the middle, and the Crusaders were cruising 43-0 with four minutes to go before halftime.
Wellington scored on a 29-yard burst in the second half for a 50-0 lead and finished with 103 yards rushing on 11 carries.
Hale scored with 3:34 left on a 3-yard run by Aaron Mandell to avoid a shutout.