With Gee Scott Jr. and his brother, Zion, the Eastside Catholic football team gets double the punch at wide receiver.
Add in DJ Rogers, Gio Ursino, Sam Adams and TaVarus George and the Crusaders are overflowing with talented targets.
Both Scott brothers scored in the first half to kick-start a stagnant offensive attack for Eastside Catholic, top-ranked in Class 3A in Washington, as the Crusaders knocked off Pinnacle of Phoenix, ranked No. 2 in the 6A classification for the state of Arizona, 21-19 in the nightcap game of the Memorial Classic on Friday night at Memorial Stadium.
Senior Gee Scott Jr. made eight grabs for 209 yards and two touchdowns as his younger brother, Zion, got on the board with his first varsity TD.
“This was a huge opportunity,” Gee Scott Jr. said after the hard-fought win. “It’s not only an opportunity to play this game, but one to just prepare us for the rest of this year. (Pinnacle) was a really good and sound team and they came out and played us physical.
“I’ve got nothing but respect for that program.”
The defense pressured Pinnacle all night and no other play was bigger than defensive lineman D’Angalo Titialii pulling down Pioneer running back Matt Goodlow for a 1-yard loss with 1:20 left in the game. Goodlow was halted on fourth-and-one at his team’s own 39-yard line and EC ran all but 20 seconds off the clock.
The Crusaders (3-0) avoided any mistakes on Pinnacle’s final desperation possession to claim the victory.
“It was a collective effort on defense and it only works if all 11 guys are on the same page,” said Dominic Daste, Eastside Catholic’s first-year coach. “This is a big-time victory. For us to get through this was great. It was a really great job by our defense.”
Gee Scott Jr.’s second TD of the night pushed Eastside Catholic back in front 21-16 with 10:26 left in the game. Scott made the scoring grab in the right corner of the end zone on a nice touch pass from Muasau.
Max Miller’s 43-yard field with 6:35 to go in the game got Pinnacle (3-1) within 21-19. The Pioneers took over at the EC 27-yard line after Trevor Crawford’s 13-yard fumble return of a Ursino fumble. Ursino, who led EC with 99 yards rushing on 19 carries, coughed the ball up at the end of a 24-yard run.
In a flash, EC went ahead 8-6 with 2:08 left in the first quarter. The Crusaders broke out of an offensive slumber with an 87-yard TD strike from Kobe Muasau to a streaking Gee Scott Jr. over the middle. Muasau’s pass hit Scott in stride at the 50-yard line and he did the rest and then Rogers caught a two-point conversion pass.
Zion Scott, a junior, hauled in a beautiful 22-yard TD pass from Muasau on fourth-and-eight to hike the Crusaders’ lead to 15-6 with 8:43 showing in the second quarter.
“It’s a bigger night for me to see my brother get his first touchdown,” said Gee Scott Jr., an Ohio State commit. “It’s also bigger because I saw some of the growth he’s made over the summer. To see this payoff for him means more than anything to me.”
EC made a nice defensive stand to limit Pinnacle to an 18-yard field goal from Max Miller on its next possession and that pulled the Pioneers within 15-9 with 3:15 left before halftime.
Pinnacle rallied to take a 16-15 lead on JD Johnson’s perfect back-shoulder throw to Marcus Libman with 3:11 left in the third quarter. The 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive began on Trevor Crawford’s interception in the end zone for a touchback and the march took less than three minutes.
The Pioneers took the opening kickoff and drove 77 yards in nine plays, capping the march with a 10-yard TD run by Goodlow at the 8:45 mark of the first quarter.
Muasau was 20 of 29 passing for 324 yards and three touchdowns for the Crusaders.