Jacob Eason stood sobbing near the Tacoma Dome end zone where he had hoped to throw a game-saving touchdown in the Class 4A semifinal football game with Skyline Saturday night. That pass was intercepted by Danny Sinatro as time expired, sealing the 37-34 upset.
TACOMA — This wasn’t the way the dream was supposed to end.
Hoisting the championship trophy amid cheers and tears of joy — that’s the conclusion Lake Stevens players envisioned for what was a magical season.
Instead, Jacob Eason stood sobbing near the Tacoma Dome end zone where he had hoped to throw a game-saving touchdown in the Class 4A semifinal football game with Skyline Saturday night.
Gridiron Classic schedule
All games at Tacoma Dome
1B final: Lummi Nation vs. Almira Coulee Hartline, 4 p.m.
3A final: Eastside Catholic vs. Bellevue, 7:30 p.m.
2A final: Tumwater vs. Prosser, 10 a.m.
1A final: King’s vs. Royal, 1 p.m.
2B final: Okanogan vs. Napavine, 4 p.m.
4A final: Skyline vs. Gonzaga Prep, 7:30 p.m.
That pass was intercepted by Danny Sinatro as time expired, sealing the 37-34 upset and sending the sixth-ranked Spartans into a frenzied celebration.
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And leaving the Vikings in disbelief.
“We wanted it so bad,” Eason said. “We just fell short. … Everything comes to an end, and it did.”
After so many things had gone right for the unbeaten, top-ranked Vikings this season, Eason couldn’t explain what went wrong.
“We did all we could,” he said after completing 32 of 42 passes for 390 yards and two touchdowns. “It just wasn’t our game. … Hats off to Skyline and I hope they go take it to Gonzaga Prep and go get themselves a title.”
Eason, a Georgia commit considered one of the top quarterbacks in the nation, played under a microscope all season and lived up to all of the hype, coming into the game with 3,195 yards passing and 41 TDs.
As much as this one hurt, in the long run, he’ll have plenty of memories to treasure.
“I love this team and I love this town,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to play football anywhere else in high school.”
Coach Tom Tri was stunned in the aftermath and his heart especially went out to Eason, who had a late fumble — his first of the season — that ended another late drive.
“I feel really bad for Jake because he’s carried us all year,” Tri said. “He carried us tonight. He had a hell of a game. I’m a dummy and call a run play out of quads. He’s got to take care of the ball, but that’s his first fumble.”
Tri said he wasn’t sure Skyline was the better team, “but they beat us tonight, so I guess they are.
“You’ve got to give them credit. They made more plays tonight.”
He praised the play of Skyline quarterback Blake Gregory, who was stellar with 436 yards and three TDs, but lamented Lake Stevens’ inability to put pressure on him.
But like every Lake Stevens player and coach, he believed Eason and his teammates were going to find a way to get it done and finish the dream.
“Damn right we believed right to the end,” Tri said. “I thought that was going to be a catch in the end zone for a touchdown to win the game. … We believed all year long we were going to get it done. We still believe. But reality is, the game’s over. But I’m so proud of my guys and the way they played, not just tonight, but all year long.”
And that’s the part of the dream the Vikings should remember.