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Eagles get revenge against Cowboys
Theres something about jersey No. 4 for the Klahowya Eagles.
A year after Isaac Solaita set new school records in rushing yards and touchdowns in a season for the Eagles, a new Eagle running back has not only stepped into the graduated Solaitas role, but into his old uniform.
Andre Moore, now wearing No. 4, looked like the same kind of slash-and-burn runner Solaita was, racking up 235 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries in Fridays 37-20 Klahowya home win against 1A Chimacum.
But the win was no solo effort.
We played as a team, Moore said. It all starts from practice.
Backfield mate Cody Hertenstein picked up 139 yards on 19 carries and fellow running back Randy Schmittler had 57 yards and a score on just five carries, adding an 18-yard reception. Fullback Jeremy Alder also scored on a 3-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Andre picked up pretty big yards on that, Klahowya coach Brad Hamblet said, specifically referring to the teams criss-cross play that led to a 68-yard touchdown run by Moore. Everyone picked up big yards on that.
But Moore said one other factor has been huge in the Eagles ground game as well: the play of the line.
Its big, he said, smiling. Theyre not big physically, but they work hard.
The win improved Klahowya to 2-0, the first time theyve started undefeated since the 2002-03 school year.
Its been a long time, Hamblet said. Ill tell you what. It feels really, really good. Its a great way to start the year.
Hamblet said its easy to see how much this years crew has grown.
Weve worked on a lot of things since the end of last season, Hamblet said. These kids respond to everything theyre asked to do. They do the things that are required for a team to be successful.
The game was all about big plays early, as Schmittler scored first, less than 3 minutes into the game on a counter that ended in a 28-yard touchdown.
Chimacum responded on the very next drive, with quarterback Chance Eldridge taking off for 50 yards and a score on a quarterback option play, a play the Cowboys used with success early on, before Klahowya cracked down later on. Eldridge finished with 127 yards on 12 carries, scoring once and committing a fumble.
The Eagles answered again, however, on their next drive, with Moore scrambling into the end zone from three yards out.
They were really over-pursuing, Hamblet said of the Cowboys attack. We know thats gonna happen with a lot of teams.
The teams traded barbs again in the second quarter before Klahowya took a 21-13 halftime lead. The Eagles allowed just once score in the second half, however.
We just put the pressure on em defensively, Moore said. Our line did good, (lineman Josh) Schuh did good. Everyone did good.
Corner Darrel Normandy picked off a pass and Hertenstein forced a fumble behind an improved defensive effort from the Eagles. Hamblet said the improvement stemmed from one simple fact.
This team plays hard, he said. Every time they play, they play hard.
Klahowya got a pivotal stop in the third quarter in a series that could have altered the momentum of the game.
After starting the drive at their own 35, the Cowboys marched down to the Klahowya 9-yard line, making it first-and-goal. Eldridge tried to run the option again, picking up just 2 yards.
Then, with quarterback Ronnie Hansen in, the Cowboys tried it again, getting two more. Chimacum running back Jobe Hathaway, who finished with 78 yards, picked up three more, setting up fourth-and-goal on the Eagles 2-yard line. But an incomplete pass in good coverage would give the Eagles the ball back.
The stand down there, that was pretty nice to see, Hamblet said. That was big.
Kicker John McLaughlin also had a nice day for Klahowya, converting on four-of-five point-after attempts and nailing a 25-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
Klahowya will take on its second 3A opponent Friday in a game against crosstown Olympic.
Last year, the Eagles fell to the Trojans 41-8. Olympic will be considered the home team for the 5 p.m. game at Silverdale Stadium.
As for looking past their non-league opponent, Hamblet said with so many returners, thats a non-issue.
Thats not gonna happen because weve got to play Oly next, Hamblet said. They thumped us pretty hard last year. They have some good athletes. Its gonna be hard.
Moore said the team just has to stay optimistic.
Just keep practicing like we have been, Moore said. Just keep thinking positive.