SAMMAMISH — Milton Hopkins Jr. was so filled with emotions that they burst out of him, tears rolling down his cheeks on the sideline late in the fourth quarter.
He never dreamed he’d be the starting quarterback for the O’Dea High School football team one day, much less scoring the dagger touchdown in the fourth quarter that would send a deafening silence throughout the Eastside Catholic stands.
And, man, was it nice to send a message to everyone who doubted O’Dea against this giant.
“It’s just a surreal moment,” said the junior quarterback after No. 2 O’Dea stunned No. 1 Eastside Catholic, the defending state champions and No. 11 team in the country as ranked by MaxPreps.com, 28-6 on Friday night.
“All this week we were expected to be blown out, lose by 40. It wasn’t going to be a close game because they have all those DI players. But we’re young, we’re hungry and we believe in ourselves.
“We got no five-star players, but we have five-star hearts.”
O’Dea’s sideline jumped and hollered after the final horn sounded and Eastside Catholic’s 18-game win streak, dating to the season opener last season when the Crusaders lost to Oaks Christian of Westlake Village, Calif., had officially ended.
This was supposed to be one of the most talented rosters in state history at Eastside Catholic with players committed to Ohio State, Washington, Stanford and plenty others who have received loads of offers.
Monte Kohler has won four state titles in his 35 seasons as O’Dea’s coach, but this was special.
“That’s the best victory I’ve ever been associated with,” he said in front of his players and their families on the field.
That’s probably because O’Dea (6-0, 3-0 Metro) ran its game plan to near perfection.
No one told him that a matchup of these state powers with this many college-bound athletes was supposed to be flash and dash. Instead O’Dea went bust and bash, rushing 54 times for 257 yards, keeping Eastside Catholic’s vaunted offense off the field for seemingly hours.
Cameron Daniels ran 30 times for 131 yards and a touchdown and Hopkins ran 15 times for 93 yards with two 1-yard TD plunges. His arm was hardly used, but certainly effective, completing 6 of 8 passes for 65 yards and a key 6-yard TD pass to Cooper Mathers with 14 seconds remaining in the first half.
That gave O’Dea a 14-6 lead, and it followed by opening the second half with maybe the drive of the year.
The Irish drove 88 yards on 18 plays before Hopkins’ TD run on third-and-goal. Yes, 18 plays. They also took almost 11 minutes off the clock with Eastside Catholic getting the ball back with 1:12 remaining in the third quarter for its first touch of the second half.
Hopkins completed a 13-yard pass on third-and-11 and ran for 14 yards on third-and-12 on the drive.
“He was amazing,” O’Dea lineman Owen Prentice said. “Milton came out and was a completely different player this game.
“We knew it was a big battle for us. They have some dudes and we have some dudes and obviously we know what happened in the state championship game (when Eastside Catholic beat O’Dea 31-13 last season). But our coaches did a great job preparing us.”
And Eastside Catholic was left scrambling for answers. The Crusaders (5-1, 2-1) opened the season with wins over Grant Union (Calif.), Central Catholic (Ore.) and Pinnacle (Ariz.) and had scored at least 40 points in four of those five wins.
Except it doesn’t matter how highly ranked you are when you commit 13 penalties for 135 yards, with more than 100 of those penalty yards coming in the first half. And O’Dea’s Davyn Patu picked off a pass in the end zone.
UW commit Sam Adams II ran just five times for 45 yards and Ohio State commit Gee Scott Jr. caught four passes for 34 yards.
“I think we all know what happened — I think we beat ourselves,” said defensive lineman J.T. Tuimoloau, the top-ranked player in the nation for the 2021 class by 247Sports.com. “O’Dea is a great team, they came out and the mistakes for us in this game made a big difference. All we got to do now is come out next week, watch film and just learn from it.”
- It’s the fourth consecutive season that O’Dea and Eastside Catholic have played as No. 1 and No. 2 in the state. They have each won two of those games.
- Eastside Catholic will retire the jersey of Matt Boyd on Saturday at noon at the school’s baseball field. Boyd, who graduated in 2009, pitched in the College World Series at Oregon State before playing in the major leagues, the last four seasons with the Tigers.