Eatonville’s Payton Hanly runs past a defender in the Cruisers' game against Montesano.
The Eatonville Cruisers faced a formidable challenge as they went head-to-head with the No. 3-ranked Montesano Bulldogs, and turnovers and penalties proved to be insurmountable obstacles. The Cruisers were handed their second shutout loss of the season, falling 36-0 and struggling to replicate the resilience that led them to victory in the previous week’s game.
Eatonville's struggle with turnovers was starkly evident in this matchup, as they gave up possession a staggering eight times. Six interceptions and two fumbles limited the offense; with starting quarterback Hunter Klumpar, Griffin Clevenger, and Cole Fowler all being picked off one or more times.
Despite the adversity they faced, the Cruisers (3-3 overall, 1-1 Evergreen League) managed to find a few bright spots. The diversity of their passing game was notable, as nine different receivers contributed to the offensive effort. Additionally, they boasted a 100-yard rusher in Payton Hanly, who led the team with 114 rushing yards.
On the defensive side, Eatonville displayed resilience by holding the high-scoring Montesano Bulldogs to their lowest first-half total of the season at 24 points.
However, it was turnovers and penalties that ultimately hindered the Cruisers' chances of making a comeback. In contrast to their previous week’s performance where they managed to overcome penalties for a win, the Cruisers found themselves unable to do so against the Bulldogs.
Head Coach Rex Norris remained optimistic, emphasizing the team’s effort and the contributions of younger players. Looking ahead, he acknowledged another challenging matchup on the horizon, stating, “Another tough task this week with a top-rated Orting team coming to town. The team looks to improve as we get to play at home this week, where we are undefeated so far this season.”
Eatonville will aim to reverse their fortunes when they return to their home field on Friday, Oct. 13, hosting their longtime rivals, the Orting Cardinals, at 7 p.m.