September 30, 2002
Cedarcrest pitches a shutout over Islanders
by Doug Sage
Valley View Sports Reporter
The Cedarcrest Red Wolves football team traveled to Mercer Island for last Friday night's game against the Islanders and pitched a near-perfect game, winning 14-0.
With their first shutout since the final game of the 2000 season against Mt. Si, the Red Wolves' defense stepped up to the plate and allowed only eight yards rushing to the Islanders.
Led by Robbie Westerman (nine tackles) and Alan Shults (seven tackles), the Red Wolves kept the pressure on all night long.
Shultz, Westerman, Josh Rosen and Derek Foote anchored a tough Cedarcrest defense that just would not allow the Islanders to mount any offensive momentum until very late in the contest.
Russell McGinnis carried the day with two interceptions, one to end a first-half drive deep in Red Wolf territory and the other to set up the Red Wolves with great field position in the second half.
Four fumble recoveries by Cedarcrest kept their offense on the field and Mercer Island desperately searching for answers on their brand new turf.
Mercer Island came into the game with a plan to shut down the state's leading receiver in Cody Petterson. Petterson came into the game with eyepopping numbers of 15 catches for 334 yards and three touchdowns.
What the Islanders didn't count on was that shutting down Petterson meant someone else would be wide open.
Taking advantage of single coverage, Kyle Eldred made the most of it and hauled in four passes for 71 yards and one touchdown.
Manin Dubois looked for open receivers all night and found several to run his totals to 16 of 30, 168 yards, one touchdown, one interception. Jake Ballingham, and Russell McGinnis were the recipients of the throws that didn't go to Petterson or Eldred.
The running game became a high priority for the Red Wolves as Tommy Harding kept his banner year going with a solid effort of 24 rushes and 72 yards with one touchdown.
Running behind his big offensive line of Westerman, Chittenden, Ly, Russell Knight at center and Sean Mace at tackle, Harding used their timely blocks to score from eight yards out in the 3rd quarter to put urgency into the Islanders game which they couldn't overcome.
This night, though, belonged to the defense. Cedarcrest kept the Islanders off balance all night with their quickness, and delivered the knockout blow late in the game.
Mercer Island had the ball with first and goal with 2:06 to play in the game at the Red Wolf 5 after two long passes had gained 75 of their 221 yards through the air.
Cedarcrest got busy and stuffed the run, tipped a pass, then Mercer Island had a penalty to move the ball back to 4th and goal from the Cedarcrest 12.
Josh Rosen applied the tourniquet as he broke through and sacked the Mercer Island quarterback at the 23, ending the threat and giving the Red Wolves a hard fought victory.
After the game, the team expressed their pleasure at this being a big team win.
Kyle Eldred was quick to pass around the kudos to his teammates.
"Our goal was to come out and play tough in the 4th quarter, get it done in the 2nd half, and we did that," he said. "You've got to hand it to the team, it was a team thing tonight."
Robbie Westerman said, "We didn't want to give up any points, we wanted the shutout. We haven't had a shutout as long as I can remember. We had something to prove as a Cedarcrest defense."
Coach Eric Hansen of the Red Wolves commented, "Our gameplan was to stick with our base set on defense, and our challenge was they would come out in an open spread formation. We had to adjust to a cover 2 and we haven't played a lot of that. We're going to practice it more and more this season. Overall, the defense was real tough."
Evidence to support that was safety Dan Merrick. Merrick was solid all night with six tackles and had the hit of the game. Late in the 4th quarter Mercer Island had found a pass play that could gain them yards.
By running a quick out to Danny Schwartz, Mercer Island could turn the ball upfield and sustain some momentum. Merrick sniffed out the play and in one hit, planted Schwartz for no gain just as he caught the ball. Definitely the stick of the game.
Next up, the Totems from Sammamish come to town to open the new Red Wolf stadium at Cedarcrest High School. The stadium construction is on track, and barring any weather delays will be ready for kick off by 7:30 Friday night.
Check out the website www.redwolvesfootball.com for the latest about the game location. It should be an exciting contest on the new turf. Go Red Wolves!!