After having their hopes of a league title dashed a few weeks ago with a loss to the eventual league champs, the Steilacoom Sentinels, the Cruisers had their sights set on wrapping up second place in league play when they hosted the Fife Trojans (5-2) this past Friday night.
The Trojans had a player like their own Caden Jumper in senior running back Junior Faualo. Standing at 6’0” 225 pounds, Faualo was a load to try and tackle.
The Trojans took that to their advantage as they would mainly stick to their run game with Faualo.
Both teams struggled early in the first quarter as both teams would turn the ball over on downs and punt to keep the game scoreless at the end of the first quarter.
Unfortunately for the Trojans, Faualo went down early in the second quarter with what appeared to be either an ankle or knee injury and he would not return.
After punts by both teams in the 2nd quarter, the Cruisers struck first when senior Zach Smith would haul in a 13-yard Caden Jumper pass for the score. The Trojans blocked the extra point attempt and the Cruisers would lead 6-0 at the 6:12 mark of the second quarter.
After the ensuing squib kick by the Cruisers, Fife stated their possession at their own 38-yard line.
They wasted no time in answering the Cruiser score as junior running back Jay Harper-Brooks took the hand off and out run the Cruiser defenders to the end zone for a 62-yard touchdown. After the kick was successful, Fife would lead 7-6 with just under 6 minutes left in the half.
The Cruisers returned the ensuing kickoff to their own 29-yard line where they looked to grab the lead back.
Senior Zach Smith replaced Jumper at quarterback for the rest of the offensive series and fake the hand off to running back Alex Brymer and keep it and scamper 50 yards all the way inside the Trojan 20. Smith called his own number again a few plays later after dropping back to pass and seeing a big running hole and taking advantage of it for the score. Trevor Schier sent the extra point attempt through the uprights to give the Cruisers a 13-7 lead with 1:26 left in the half.
The Trojans drove down the field to the 25-yard line before the Cruiser defense and the game clocked stopped them. They were be forced to attempt a 42-yard field goal that would fall short as the half would come to a close. The Cruisers took a 13-7 lead into halftime.
After a punt by the Trojans on their opening possession of the 3rd quarter, the Cruisers looked to extend their lead.
With the ball on their own 24-yard line, quarterback Caden Jumper showed everyone just how hard it is to tackle him.
On a designed quarterback run to the left side of the line, Jumper kept the ball and be met at the 25-yard line by a wall of Trojan tacklers. The combination of Jumper keeping his feet moving and his fellow teammates pushing the pile 5 yards, he emerged out of the pile and run down the sideline before being tripped up by a Trojan defender at the 2-yard line.
Jumper then handed the ball off to senior running back Alex Brymer who fought through the middle of the Trojan defense for the score. The extra point attempt wasbe no good and the Cruisers would extend their lead to 19-7 midway through the third quarter.
Fife scraped and clawed its way back into the game as they worked their way down field and cap off the drive with a 10-yard score by Jay Harper-Brooks. The Trojans lined up to attempt the extra point, but it was a fake. Holder Kacey Koehn kept the ball and throw to a receiver in the endzone. With the two-point conversion successful, Fife would cut the lead to 19-15 with 2:26 left in the third quarter.
On their next possession, the Cruisers turned the ball overt on downs. The Trojans were then be forced to punt on their next possession.
After the punt, the Cruisers Zach Smith returned the kick 30 yards to the Trojan 10-yard line. Jumper then kept the ball from the 5-yard line for the score. Schier’s kick sailed through the uprights and the Cruisers extended their lead to 26-15 with 8 minutes left in the game.
After returning the kickoff to their own 42-yard line, the Trojans drove all the way inside the Eatonville 10-yard line before the Cruisers stopped them. The Trojans’ Gabe Duenas then kicked a 22-yard field goal to pull the Trojans within eight at 26-18.
The Cruisers were forced to punt on their next possession and the Trojans took over at their own 45-yard line.
With the Trojans facing a 3rd and 10 from the 30-yard line, they attempted what looked like was going to be a halfback pass, but the halfback dropped the pitch and was tackled back at their own 43.
Facing a fourth and 26, the Trojans would float a pass towards the endzone. It was intercepted by the Cruisers’ Jakob Lucht. The Cruisers then snapped the ball and took a knee as the clock ran out to take the victory 26-18.
Jumper finished seven for 11 passing for 65 yards and a touchdown. On the ground, he ran the ball 15 times for 139 yards and a score. Smith finished with four catches for 38 yards and a score. On the ground ran the ball nine times for 79 yards and a touchdown. Alex Brymer also scored for the Cruisers and finished with seven carries for 29 yards.
With that win, the Cruisers will finish the regular season take second in the SPSL 2A Mountain division. Their record currently sits at 5-3 overall and 3-1 in league play. They will now take on the second-place team, the Franklin Pierce Cardinals out of the SPSL 2A Valley division in a league cross-over game to determine seeding into the West Central District 3 playoffs. That game will be played at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, at Eatonville High School.