Eatonville’s Aiden Eichost (27) and Hunter Klumpar (4) lead the Cruisers onto the field prior to their 23-12 victory over the Tenino Beavers.
In a hard-fought opening matchup of 1A Evergreen League play, the Eatonville Cruisers came away with a 23-12 victory over the Tenino Beavers, despite facing a barrage of penalties totaling 101 yards. The Cruisers displayed resilience and strong offensive plays to emerge victorious in their league opener.
Eatonville wasted no time making their presence felt, as they scored on the very first play from scrimmage. Quarterback Hunter Klumpar connected with a wide-open Ky Nation for an explosive 57-yard touchdown pass. Payton Hanly followed up with a successful two-point conversion to Riley Storm giving the Cruisers an early 8-0 lead.
However, the Beavers quickly answered back with a methodical 16-play, 66-yard drive. Michael Vassar capped off the drive with a 3-yard rushing touchdown, but their two-point conversion attempt came up short, leaving Eatonville with an 8-6 advantage.
A well-placed Cruiser punt by Griffin Clevenger pinned the Beavers deep in their territory, but Tenino once again embarked on a lengthy offensive drive, this time covering 81 yards in 14 plays. They found the endzone with another rushing touchdown but missed the two-point conversion, taking a 12-8 lead midway through the second quarter.
Eatonville regained the lead just seven plays later. From the Beaver 22-yard line, Klumpar handed the ball to running back Dylan Norman, who executed a reverse play by handing off to Ky Nation. Nation then connected with a wide open Griffin Clevenger in the endzone for a touchdown. Hanly ran in the two-point conversion, extending the lead to 16-12 with less than a minute left in the half.
Both teams failed to score in the third quarter, setting the stage for the Cruisers to seal the victory in the final quarter. With four minutes left in the third quarter, Eatonville orchestrated a 15-play, 75-yard drive, highlighted by a 29-yard pass completion to Michael Stogsdill. Evan Wimbles, returning from injury, capped off the drive with a 3-yard rushing touchdown early in the fourth. Colton Herbrand nailed the extra point, securing a 23-12 win for the Cruisers.
The Cruiser defense stood out with three sacks on the day, coming from Payton Hanly, Fabian Pina, and Ethan Rogers. Griffin Clevenger played a pivotal role in the field position game, averaging 45 yards per punt, with one crucial punt pinning the Beavers inside their own 10-yard line, setting up the Cruisers' score just before halftime.
Looking ahead, the Cruisers will need to address their penalty issues before facing their toughest opponent of the season, the No. 3 ranked Montesano Bulldogs. This matchup will carry significant postseason implications and is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6, at Jack Rottle Field in Montesano.