It’s hard to hold a team with the amount of firepower that the Eastside Catholic football team has down for long — or, as it turns out, more than one quarter, as the Bellevue Wolverines learned on Saturday.
The Wolverines took a 7-0 lead on the first play of the second quarter of Saturday’s Class 3A state quarterfinal at Memorial Stadium. That seemed to wake up the sleeping giant, which rattled off 22 consecutive points to grab momentum in what ultimately was a 50-21 blowout in favor of the Crusaders.
“We came out right away and roughed the kicker (on a punt) and just penalties, and they made some plays,” Eastside Catholic coach Dominic Daste said. “We knew they were going to pick their spots throwing the ball, and they made some plays. They’re a really good team. (Bellevue senior Alex Reid) might be the best player in the state. We settled down a little bit, and we felt like we had a decent plan, so we just stayed the course.”
It helped that junior quarterback Kobe Muasau was nearly perfect. He completed 16 of 18 passes for 284 yards and four touchdowns to lead the way for the Crusaders (10-1).
“Kobe has played really well,” Daste said. “I think he’s seeing the field really well. … He’s throwing to some pretty talented people, so that helps. The (offensive) line protection gave him time. I think the game is starting to slow down for him, and he’s starting to play his best ball, which is good.”
Muasau’s favorite target was senior wide receiver Gee Scott Jr., who caught seven passes for 143 yards and three touchdowns, including the Crusaders’ first two scores.
“When we get to this point of the year, it’s not about me anymore,” Scott said. “The fact that I can contribute 150 yards to my team, that’s what means the most to me, especially when we get toward the back end of the playoffs and moving forward to the semis. It’s more about the team situation, and I’m happy I can contribute to the team.”
Scott was also full of praise for his quarterback, who was a perfect 8 for 8 in the second half, and completed his final 11 passes.
“The kid is amazing,” Scott said. “He amazes every time we come out to practice. Seeing some of the things that he does is truly impressive.”
The No. 2-seeded Crusaders will play the No. 3 seed Lincoln in Saturday’s semifinals. The winner of that game will advance to the state championship on Dec. 7 at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup.
The season comes to an end for the No. 7 Wolverines (9-3), and their coach, an emotional Michael Kneip, put the blame for the loss on himself.
“It was my fault,” Kneip said. “I owe it to this team, and that’s my fault. The whole game was my fault. I didn’t get them prepared. … I didn’t get our kids ready, and that hurts. I’m going to live with that one for a while.
“I’m really proud of our seniors. You can’t take away what our seniors did for this program. They are such good kids. I’ll take our kids over anyone’s in the country any day, but this was my fault. The game was my fault.”