It started with a simple snap over a punter's head on the opening drive for Eastlake (10-2) and the momentum just continued to build against them in the first half. Eighth-ranked Lake Stevens (12-0) capitalized on multiple Wolve turnovers and quarterback Jake Nelson for the Vikings led them to scores on their opening five possessions in a 50-21 upset victory in the Class 4A Quarterfinals Saturday night at Eastlake High School.
Nelson was 19 for 26 and threw for 251 yards, and three touchdowns while rushing for 74 yards.
"We are usually known for special teams, and defense," Wolves quarterback Keegan Kemp said. "It just wasn't clicking and we were making some stupid errors."
Eastlake did cut it to a two-point game early in the first quarter at 9-7 on a five yard touchdown run by Kemp.
But the Vikings answered on a 35 yard touchdown pass from Nelson to Christian Gasca and ran off 20 more unanswered points thanks to recovering two pooch kickoffs that Lake Stevens Head Coach Tom Tri said was a huge key for his team in swinging monetum and field position in their favor.
"We went 3 for 3 in our walk-through on Friday, so we decided to try it in the game and it paid off," Tri said.
The Wolves settled down in the second half and started making some big plays of their own. Kemp broke off a 53 yard touchdown run at the start of the fourth quarter to cut the spread to 36-14. However, it wasn't enough as the defense did come up with a couple of interceptions that couldn't be converted often enough to get Eastlake back into the contest.
Kemp threw for 129 yards, and ran for 109 yards with two touchdowns on the night.
"Everyone stood together to the end," Kemp said. "I'm excited for the future of this program with the underclassmen."
Wolves coach Gene Dales was very appreciative of his senior class in propelling Eastlake to its third best finish in school history with making it to the quarterfinals.
"We've got a tremendous group of senior kids and this hurts a lot for our guys but it was a great year for us," he said.