The Eatonville High School football team battled the Lynden Lions in the first round of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) State tournament on Nov. 11.

The Cruisers came in as the No. 14 seed and took on the No. 3 seed Lions at Civic Stadium in Bellingham.

On the opening drive, the Cruisers seemed to make quick work of the Lynden defense by marching quickly to midfield before Lynden intercepted senior Tristan Schoepf's pass at the 11-yard line. The Lions would then work their way to the Cruiser 15-yard line. The Cruiser defense would come up with a big stop on third down. Lynden decided to settle for a field goal attempt. The kick sailed wide left. With two minutes left in the first quarter, the Lions would strike first with a 45-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Kobe Elsner. Sophomore Kekoa Visperas would block Junior kicker Marko Samoukovic’s extra point. Both defenses would continue to play well until the Cruiser offense answered Lynden's score with a touchdown of their own.

After a squib kick, the Cruiser would start on the 42-yard line. After a couple of runs by sophomore Caden Jumper, the Cruisers would have the ball firsst and 10 on the Lynden 45-yard lineSchoepf would then findVisperas streaking through the middle of the Lion defense for a 42-yard gain as the quarter came to a close.

To start the second quarter, Schoepf would keep the ball and weave his way through the Lynden defense for the score. Senior Diego Luna would put the extra point attempt through and the Cruisers would go on top 7-6. Both teams would continue to play some great defense and we would go into the half with the Cruisers holding on to a 7-6 lead. 

Lynden would receive the kick to open up the third quarter of play. On the third play of the third quarter, Lynden quarterback James Marsh would slip through the Cruiser defense for 60 yards and the score. After the extra point, the Lions would take a 13-7 lead and never look back. The Cruisers would continue to battle hard, but the changes Lynden made at half time seemed to be working, as they would put up another 21 points in the half.

The Cruisers would finish off the scoring with a Jumper two-yard touchdown run with 34 seconds left in the game. Luna's extra point would end the scoring for both teams. After the ensuing kick off, Lynden would take a knee and run the clock out to end the game and the Cruisers season. 

Eatonville would finish the season with an 8-3 overall record, one more win than last season and give Coach Gavin Kralik his first state playoff appearance as Eatonville head coach.

"I was both happy and sad for our seniors,” Kralik said. “They have displayed such strong leadership. They have so much love for each other and the rest of their teammates. I know that they exceeded the expectations of many people. On the other hand we felt capable of winning that game and showed that for a half. I wanted at least one more victory for those seniors and their families."  

 The Cruisers had a great season and were a fairly young team. Look for them to come back strong next season and look to improve on that 8-3 record.