This past Saturday at B.W. Lyon Field in Eatonville was a special day for many reasons. Not only did the Eatonville Cruiser football team demolish another opponent, but the program also honored its senior class players as it was their last game on that field. They also celebrated head coach Gavin Kralik passing a career milestone.
With the 45-0 shutout of the Castle Rock Rockets, the Cruisers gave Kralik his 100th career victory.
As they have done for most of their games this season, the Cruisers scored first and often.
Dylan Norman was the first of many to find the end zone for Eatonville. He took a Kevin Wulff handoff and plowed into the end zone from 1 yard out for the early score, and those points were all the Cruisers needed to win the game.
The Cruisers wouldn’t stop at just seven points, however. They added 38 more.
Kaden Olsen also added a 1-yard run for a score. Wulff then kept the ball from 5 yards out for the Cruiser third score of the game. Senior Jake Wood got in on the action when he took a Wulff handoff 15 yards for the score to give the Cruisers a 28-0 lead into halftime.
Wulff picked up the scoring again for Eatonville late in the third quarter when he picked up a bad snap and drove forward for the score to make it 35-0.
Olsen found the end zone again for the Cruisers with a 9-yard scamper for the score to make it 42-0.
Job Kralik added a 36-yard field goal to round out the scoring for the Cruisers as they pushed the score to 45-0.
The defense came to play, forcing every Castle Rock drive to end in either a punt, turn over on downs or an interception. Gavin Kralik praised his defense’s improved communication as one of the keys. “Our defense has been getting better each week,” he said. “They are really working well together as a group, and communication has improved greatly.”
That defense held the Rockets to under 100 yards of offense on the day.
Meanwhile, the Cruiser offense did all of their damage on the ground.
With the winds swirling, Wulff seemed to struggle passing and completed only three of his 11 attempts.
“We were trying to get the passing game going, but we were having difficulty in doing so,” Kralik said. “I think the field conditions and wind contributed to that.”
Instead, Eatonville took to the ground where they rushed for a season-high 418 yards.
A week after producing their first 100-plus rusher in a game, the Cruisers had three players go over the 100-yard mark on the day.
Norman recorded his second game over 100 yards when he ran the ball 16 times for 108 yards and a score. Olsen carried the ball 12 times for 111 yards and two touchdowns, while Wulff ran the ball 10 times for 102 yards for two touchdowns, as well.
After the big win, Kralik shared his thoughts and feelings about achieving such a milestone of 100 career wins.
"It is a collective achievement over a long period of time,” he said. “I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to coach alongside a lot of great coaches, and fortunate for the kids I have had the privilege of coaching throughout my career.”
Kralik credits his family, especially his wife, as the reason for most of his success.
“As a coach, you spend a lot of hours investing in people, and it takes a commitment from not only the coaches but the coaches' wives,” he said. “I am thankful especially for the support and commitment from my wife, Krista, throughout the years.”
Kralik said, “hands down,” his college coach Sam Rutigliano was the most influential person in his coaching career.
“Without having him as a coach/mentor I wouldn't have gotten into coaching,” he added.
With the Castle Rock Rockets out of the way, the Cruisers now set their sights on their last regular-season game Friday. Eatonville will travel to Hoquiam to take on the 0-5 Grizzlies. The kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Olympic Stadium.
A win on Friday night would give the Cruisers their first undefeated regular season since 2014.
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