EAST WENATCHEE — Eastmont football ran their win streak to six in a row over Wenatchee Friday night with a 28-3 win over the rival Panthers in the Bridge of Sportsmanship game. However, it took a strong effort by the Wildcats to secure the win after a sluggish first half.
The Wenatchee defense played a spirited first half holding the high-scoring Eastmont Wildcats scoreless. Eastmont had scored 33 against Central Valley and 55 against Lewis and Clark. Yet the Panther defense held.
Wenatchee led 3-0 at the half.
“Number one, I feel like Wenatchee came out well. They were prepared. I was impressed with their kids. They got after it in the first half. You can’t take anything away from what they did,” said Eastmont Head Coach Mike Don. “They had some kids who battled through some injuries. I thought they did a great job getting ready to roll. Number 22, McGuire, ran really hard and they just got after it in the first half.”
Don said they talked at the half about what they had to do.
“Not worry about all the bad things that could happen but just focus on what we do well. I thought in the second half, after the first possession, we started rolling from there and looked a lot better,” Don said.
In the first quarter, neither team could generate any scoring. The first two Eastmont possessions saw the Wildcats move the ball but the drives stalled, one on downs and the other was a punt.
The first Wenatchee possession saw the Panther drive stalled on downs. The second possession in the second quarter, the Panthers drove 85-yards in 12 plays. The result was a 30-yard field goal by junior Alex Sanchez.
The ensuing kickoff saw Eastmont senior Nathan Chang run 90-yards for the score, only to see the play called back due to a penalty.
Wenatchee’s junior safety Beau Warren intercepted to thwart the Wildcat drive, but that was erased due to a roughing the passer penalty.
Eastmont drove to the Wenatchee 36-yard line, but a bad snap killed the drive as Eastmont lost 12-yards on the play. The half ended as Eastmont ran the clock out.
The Wildcats had a golden opportunity to score as Wenatchee fumbled the second-half kickoff. Eastmont took over at the Panther 13-yard line. However, the Panther defense held Eastmont out of the end zone.
Behind the running of senior Blake McGuire, the Panthers drove into Eastmont territory but the drive stalled at the Wildcat 40-yard line.
After the Panther punt, Eastmont took over at their own 24-yard line. Two plays later, running back Gunnar Peterson found a hole and rumbled 66-yards for the touchdown.
Eastmont led 7-3 with 3:09 to go in the third quarter.
After the Wenatchee drive stalled, Eastmont took over at midfield in the final seconds of the third quarter. First play, Wildcat sophomore quarterback Luke Gale hit his favorite target senior Brooks Trovato for a 15-yard gain.
Next play, sophomore Austin Ruffin ran right for the 34-yard touchdown run.
Eastmont pushed the lead to 14-3 with 11:47 left in the game.
“We got some big plays in there. We talked about a couple of things we saw at halftime on cutting back because they were pursuing really hard. We weren’t seeing the cut-back. We were able to hit some big cut-back runs,” Don said “Between Peterson, Ruffin and Corona, we just had a lot of guys make big runs for us.”
Wenatchee went three and out on their next possession as the Wildcat defense stiffened. Eastmont took over at their own 31-yard line after the punt.
The Wildcats, behind the running of Peterson, Ruffin and senior Ivan Corona, drove for another score, a 9-yard run by Corona. The Wildcats drive was 69-yards in nine plays.
Eastmont pushed the lead to 21-3 with 5:41 remaining.
After Wenatchee, behind new quarterback junior Jackson Bishop, stalled on downs, giving Eastmont the ball at the Panther 20-yard line. Two plays later, junior Colby King ran 20-yards for another TD.
The Wildcats led 28-3 with now 4:31 remaining.
Wenatchee, behind the passing of Bishop, drove to the Eastmont 2-yard line only to fumble to thwart the scoring effort with 2 minutes remaining.
For Eastmont, Peterson rushed 14 times for 128 yards and one touchdown. Gale was 9-for-15 for 100 yards passing. For Wenatchee, McGuire rushed 22 times for 103 yards. Quarterback Jacob Devereaux was 6-for-8 for 67 yards.
Even though six wins in a row is a record versus Wenatchee, Don said it’s not something he’s too worried about.
“It’s exciting. It’s nice to bring it home. It means a lot to the community and the kids. At the end of the day, it’s another day and we’re ready to move on. We have some big goals this year,” he said.
Eastmont improves to 3-1 on the year and 1-0 in the Big-9 while Wenatchee falls to 1-2 and 0-1 in the Big-9.
Next Friday, Wenatchee hosts Sunnyside while Eastmont is on the road at Eisenhower.