SAMMAMISH — If there’s a better rivalry on the west side of Washington state it would be surprising.

This renewal of Eastside Catholic-O’Dea series, which in recent years has been played with the teams ranked one and two in the state, was good to the last drop. After falling behind by one point with 1 minute, 40 seconds remaining, Eastside Catholic turned desperation into celebration.

The Crusaders drove 78 yards in 38 seconds to cap one of the Metro League rivalry’s most memorable finishes. Quarterback Brady McKelheer fired to an open Jayden Reyes and the receiver turned it into the game-winning 41-yard touchdown strike with 58 seconds left as Eastside Catholic prevailed 24-17 over O’Dea on Friday night in a Mountain Division showdown at Eastside Catholic High School.

The third-ranked Crusaders (5-0, 4-0 Metro) looked cooked when the No. 2 Irish went ahead 17-16 on quarterback Luke D’anna’s 6-yard TD pass to Tucker Ashcraft with 1:40 showing on the game clock. Owen Livingston’s PAT kick put O’Dea (4-1, 3-1) ahead and put the pressure on EC.

“The first half was a little rough, but our team bounced back,” said McKelheer, who helped break a 3-3 halftime tie by completing 18 of 32 passes for 294 yards and two TDs. “[On the winning play] I saw the backer and my eyes were kind of framed outside, and I moved him with my eyes and it opened up a look and Jayden just took it for six.”

The two teams combined for 35 points in the final 14:36 with the Crusaders tallying 21 of those in the frantic finish of programs who each have four state titles and are among the favorites again in Class 3A.


“It means a whole lot [to get this win], because my team and I, we’ve been working so hard in the offseason and this had really big meaning,” said Reyes, a 5-foot-9, 165-pound junior receiver, who finished with four catches for 93 yards and the game-winning TD. “We showed who we are today.”

Eastside Catholic went ahead 16-10 on McKelheer’s 58-yard pass-and-go to freshman Asa Thompson with 8:37 left in the game. Adam Jacobs’ PAT kick was wide left.

McKelheer threw for 227 yards and two TDs in the second half after throwing two interceptions before halftime.

In the last meeting of the two Metro powers, Eastside Catholic prevailed over the Irish 24-14 last season on Oct. 8, 2021 in Week 6.

The two teams each won in a pair of meetings in the 2020 season (pushed back to spring of 2021 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic). The Crusaders triumphed 20-0 to open the season on March 5, 2021 and O’Dea bounced back with a 31-14 victory on April 9, 2021.

The Irish outscored their first three Metro opponents by a 121-10 count. Eastside Catholic put 153 points to 14 for its first three Metro foes.


O’Dea leads the all-time series with Eastside 21-14.

The Crusaders took a 3-0 lead on Jacobs’ 40-yard field goal with 3:55 left in the second quarter. Jacobs’ boot was set up by a 43-yard pass play from Brady McKelheer to Reyes.

With 2:08 left before halftime, O’Dea took advantage of an EC turnover as Livingston converted a 30-yard field goal. The kick was courtesy a Brendan Jacobs’ interception return of 10 yards to the Crusader 32-yard line.

This story has been updated to correct the all-time series between the schools.