If battling injuries and an illness running through the Eatonville football team wasn't enough, the Cruisers faced a strong Montesano team on Friday night at B.W. Lyon Stadium that resulted in the Bulldogs handing top-ranked Eatonville its first loss of the season, 42-21.
Turnovers plagued the Cruisers — who had one fumble and two interceptions — two of which resulted in Bulldog scores.
How it happened
On the opening drive, the Bulldogs’ Tucker Eaton intercepted a pass from Cruiser quarterback Job Kralik and returned the ball to the Eatonville 20-yard line. Montesano punched it in the end zone four plays later on an Ethan Blundred 8-yard run for an early 7-0 lead.
After an Eatonville three-and-out and a Montesano turnover on downs, the Cruisers answered back with an 11-play, 70-yard drive that Cruiser offensive lineman Kyle Cox capped with a 4 yard-touchdown run to tie the game at 7 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the two teams went blow-for-blow.
The Bulldogs extended their lead at the 9 minute, 42 second mark when they put together a 13-play, 67-yard drive that ended with quarterback Jayden McElravy finding the end zone on a 1-yard carry.
The Cruisers punched back quickly with a four-play drive that ended with Kralik scoring on a 30-yard keeper. The extra point failed, and Montesano held on to a 14-13 lead.
Montesano added to its lead when McElravy reeled off a 50-yard scamper to put the Bulldogs up, 21-13.
In true Cruiser fashion, Eatonville quickly responded. With just under five minutes left in the half, Eatonville marched 63 yards on eight plays and capped the drive with a Ky Nation 15-yard score. The two-point conversion attempt was successful as Cox ran it in to tie the game at 21.
With a few seconds on the clock, the Bulldogs finished off the scoring in the first half when backup quarterback Jaxson Wilson found receiver Kaleb Ames for a 5-yard touchdown to put the Bulldogs back on top, 28-21, as the teams headed to the locker room.
Wilson took over for the Bulldogs after McElravy left the game with a concussion.
Slowed in second half
Montesano received the second-half kickoff and strung together a 10-play, 85-yard drive that ended in a touchdown. Blundred picked up his second score of the game on an 8-yard run that put the Bulldogs up by two scores, 35-21.
The Cruisers were not as successful offensively in the second half. Their four possessions resulted in a fumble, an interception and two turnovers on downs.
Montesano reached the end zone one last time late in the fourth quarter when Wilson found Ames again, this time for a 23-yard touchdown reception to put the Bulldogs up 42-21.
Cox led the Cruisers with 91 yards rushing, a touchdown and a two-point conversion. Kralik picked up 69 yards on the ground and a touchdown before leaving the game because of a helmet-to-helmet hit early in the fourth quarter. Nation contributed with 51 yards rushing and a touchdown, as well.
The Cruisers will try and battle through illness and heal from their injuries in time for their Oct. 21 game at Elma in another 1A Evergreen Conference clash. The kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.