WENATCHEE — Jakob Stoll watched from the sideline bench as Wenatchee quarterback Dillon Sugg took a knee to kill the clock as the final seconds expired.
Stoll sat out the final offensive series after aggravating a left knee injury, but he played a critical role in Wenatchee’s 13-3 win over Eisenhower on Friday at Lee Bofto Field at the Apple Bowl.
The senior lineman spent the majority of the contest in the Eisenhower backfield terrorizing quarterback Chris Sawyer and unraveling an offensive attack that entered the evening with a league-best 2,149 yards.
Stoll finished the night with four sacks and one forced fumble, and he did so playing with a bruised and inflamed knee.
The 6-foot-2, 260-pound force was noticeably sore after the league win, which put the Panthers in first place, but the final result was worth the pain.
“It felt great,” he said. “You can’t beat the feeling of sacking a quarterback.”
Stoll spends each week nursing his knee with ice, heat and rehab. He hasn’t participated in many practices since sustaining the injury during a week two win on the road against Davis. But come gameday, he’s always ready to work.
“(I) just shut down all the distractions and think maximum effort this play, what’s my assignment, and I have to go as hard as possible,” he said. “That’s all you have to think.”
The monotonous rehab sessions are frustrating, and Stoll doesn’t like missing out on practice, but Fridays offer him another opportunity to stand out to college coaches and scouts.
“It’s do or die for me,” he said. “I haven’t gotten a scholarship yet, but I’m looking for one, and I have to show colleges I’m a player worth having.”
Panthers coach Scott Devereaux called Stoll a “warrior” after the defensive showdown in which neither team looked anything like it had all season.
The Panthers forced seven turnovers, but had a hard time putting together any drives and finished the evening with just five first downs and 194 total yards. Field position and defense won them the game, which is contrary to everything they’ve done up to this point.
Their only offensive outburst came on a two-play drive, in which Isaiah Brandt-Sims racked up 78 yards and the team’s only touchdown on two carries.
“The defensive line played great, got a lot of pressure on (Sawyer) without having to blitz,” Devereaux said. “The secondary played great.”