SAMMAMISH — It felt good for Sam Adams II to bring a little more to the table. The smiles told the story.
After a senior season marred by a shoulder injury among a myriad injuries, Adams hasn’t been as big a part of the second-ranked Eastside Catholic football team’s offense as expected.
Adams, a University of Washington commit, showed flashes of his old self and scored two touchdowns as the Crusaders’ defense did plenty of damage in a 34-14 victory over Gig Harbor in a Class 3A state preliminary-round playoff game Friday night at Eastside Catholic High School.
“It feels amazing (to score two TDs), and I’m 100 percent going into the playoffs,” said Adams, who had 52 yards rushing on 10 carries. “Our end goal is obviously a state championship, and I’m going to do whatever I can for my team to get there.
“I’m not disappointed in my production. It was a little shocking at first, but it’s a team sport and I’ve got to do what’s best for the team.”
Adams piled up 1,723 all-purpose yards and 20 TDs as the Crusaders (13-1) won a Class 3A state championship last season. This season, Adams has 546 all-purpose yards and seven TDs.
“I’ve just been a little banged up, so I’m just trying to stay healthy,” Adams said.
Defensive lineman/tight end J.T. Tuimoloau set the tone on the defensive side of the ball with four tackles for loss, including three sacks as the Crusaders (8-1) advanced to state.
“J.T.’s just a different athlete, that I’ve never seen before,” Adams said of the team’s defensive leader, the 6-foot-5, 270-pound Tuimoloau, who also had three catches for 47 yards. “Our defense did a great job holding them out of the end zone and not letting them score any points until late in the game. That just gave our offense a lot of confidence knowing that we’ve got our defense to fall back on if anything wrong happens on offense.
“That was a strong point for us.”
Eastside Catholic, which gave up two TDs in the final 3 minutes, 36 seconds with reserves in the game, will find out their first-round state opponent Sunday at Washington Interscholastic Activities Association headquarters in Renton as the state seeding committee will decide the first-round pairings. The Crusaders secured their ninth consecutive state berth and 10th in 12 seasons and goes for the school’s fourth state title in the sport.
The Crusaders are hoping for another crack at Metro League rival O’Dea, which handed them a 28-6 home loss on Oct. 11.
“I’m looking forward to seeing them down the road, for sure,” Adams said. “Hopefully, it’s in the state championship so we can put it on them one more time.”
Gig Harbor finished 7-2 and was denied its first state appearance since 2016.
Eastside Catholic quarterback Kobe Muasau completed 22 of 31 passes for 303 yards and two TDs through the air to go with one on the ground. Ohio State-bound receiver Gee Scott Jr. caught nine passes for 119 yards, but didn’t get into the end zone. Gio Ursino led the Crusaders on the ground, rushing for 86 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.