Cruisers dispatch East Jefferson, advance to quarterfinals
After not having a state football playoff last season due to the pandemic, the Cruisers made up for it this year by shutting out the East Jefferson Rivals 58-0 this past Saturday.
While the Eatonville offense put up 58 points in the game, the Cruiser defense stood out in Saturday's game.
The Cruisers held East Jefferson to negative 4 total yards, while not allowing a first down all game. The Rivals only crossed mid-field once in the game on their final offensive play.
The defense forced 3 turnovers on the day with Walker Bruun recovering a fumble and returning it 20 yards for a touchdown. Tyson Day picked off a Cash Holmes pass at the 47-yard line and raced 51 yards to the 1-yard line to set up the next Cruiser score. As well, Zach Barnett recovered a fumble for the Cruisers.
“I am very proud of our defense,” coach Gavin Kralik said. “We have 10 seniors that start on our defense, and they are playing at a very high level. To win at a high level, it starts with defense, so we are really pleased with their improvement from week to week.”
Running back Dylan Norman had another big game for Eatonville. He carried the ball 11 times for 106 yards and two touchdowns.
Kralik also complimented Norman on his great play.
“He has really improved each week,” he said. “He is a kid that is willing to do whatever he can to help the team. He excels on special teams as well. He has a really bright future.”
Quarterback Kevin Wulff threw three touchdowns on the day. He completed 11 of his 13 pass attempts for 159 yards.
Jakob Lucht was on the receiving end of six of Wulff’s passes. He scored on a 34-yard reception and a 9-yard reception and finished the game with 90 yards receiving.
Other players scoring for the Cruisers on the day were Bruun with a fumble recovery that he returned 20 yards for a score, Kaden Olsen with a 3-yard touchdown run, Payton Hanly with a 1-yard rushing touchdown, Reilly McIlraith with a 32-yard screen pass, and Sebastian Molina with a 29-yard field goal.
The Cruisers had a large crowd for this playoff game. A large contingent of Cruiser fans made the short trip to root on their team.
“It was really neat to see such a large turnout and great student section,” Kralik said. “Our kids really felt the energy of our crowd. We are so excited to be able to host playoff games near our town and allow our Eatonville community and student body to be part of the postseason, especially after what we all experienced the past year and a half.”
As the Cruisers move on to the quarterfinals, they will host the No. 7-seeded Riverside Rams at 1 p.m. Saturday at Art Crate Field at Bethel High School in Spanaway.
“Riverside is pretty similar to us in that they are big and physical up front on both sides of the ball,” Kralik said. “It will be really exciting to see two really quality lines going at it on Saturday. I think our kids are really excited about this matchup. They want to establish the run and stop the run, which is very similar to how our team is built.”
The Cruisers hope the same fans and more root them on this Saturday.