September 10, 2001
Red Wolves sink Islanders
by Doug Sage
The Cedarcrest Red Wolves tore the wrapper off a new football season last Friday with a resounding come-from- behind victory over an old nemesis, the Mercer Island Islanders.
As the Red Wolf press guide said this year, the boys from the Valley hadn't beaten the Islanders since 1955. It was time for a change, and this spirited team put an end to that streak. New head coach Eric Hansen in his first game saw the Red Wolves start slowly, and come on strong with stout defense and exhilarating special teams in the second half to put the Islanders away.
Hansen said at halftime, "We challenged our kids to make the right reads, and the right calls and the kids came through, they did a nice job."
Quarterback Sean McDonald got off to a rocky start in the first half, when after a nice run and a 25-yard gain by RB Tom Felts to mid-field, Sean had the first of four first half interceptions. These interceptions kept the Red Wolf offense off the field, and allowed MI to go the short field for the first score of the night and take a halftime lead of 7-0.
McDonald (9-16-1TD-4INT-116yds) said after the game, "I love this feeling, this is one of the best feelings I've ever had."
In response to the rough first half McDonald said, "I tried to block everything out of my mind and not throw any interceptions, and we came back and stuck it to them."
The key play in the game came early in the third quarter when MI was driving deep into Red Wolf territory. Their drive stalled and with a 4th and 3 from the 19 the QB launched a lazy pass to the right side and Cody Pettersen stepped in front of the receiver. He made the pick and was off to the races down the sidelines for a 60-yard return to the MI 25 with 8:43 to play in the 3rd quarter.
The Red Wolves didn't cash in immediately as after a first down, their drive stalled with a penalty that brought them to a 4th and 20 from the 25-yard line. McDonald found Pettersen (5-91yds-1TD) on a 21-yard strike to the 4 on a slant pattern and the bubble was filled with hope again. From there, Aaron O'Neal crashed over the right side behind the big blocks of Robby Westerman,
Josh Rosen, Cole Birk, Curtis Coe and Coy Chittenden for a 4 yard score and a
tie ballgame 7-7 with 3:46 to play the 3rd. After the kickoff by Felts went
through the endzone, the Redwolf defense lead by O'Neal and Felts held MI
deep in their own end again and forced a punting situation with 4th and 10
from the 31. A bad snap by the MI center over the punters head was recovered
by the Redwolves at the 9 and Cedarcrest was in its best field position of
the night. McDonald found Pettersen on a 8 yard bullet for 6 points on
second down and the Redwolves had a lead they would never relinquish 14-0
with 1:13 to play in the 3rd. The Redwolf defense buckled their chinstraps
on tight and took the game right at the Islanders. Later on a MI drive,
cornerback Zack Taylor drilled a receiver along the near sideline for no gain
and the Redwolves announced that they were for real. Late in the 4th
quarter, Tom Felts made one of two field goals from 25 yards out and the
Redwolves had their 10 point margin of victory. The crowd was loud and the
big turnout was not disappointed as the clock wound down and the horn finally
sounded on a great game. Curtis Coe, who pressured the QB from his LB
position said after the game "We've been practicing all year for this.
Spring, summer and it all paid off. This is a sweet feeling".
Understandably, everyone on the team was exited about the win, As McDonald
said "It felt so good." Pettersen summed it up when he said "We knew our
offense had it in us, our offense was down, and at halftime we picked our
offense up. Our defense was awesome, we just put it out on the field in the
second half". They sure did. What a great way to start the season, these
guys are going to be fun to watch all season long. Come support the
Redwolves when they take on the defending State 3A champion Skyline Spartans
at Miller field at Tolt, Friday at 7:30.