Eastside Catholic shows why it’s No.1 by storming Rainier Beach

The Crusaders get four touchdown passes from Zach Lewis in a 42-24 win that saw a running clock in the second half.

It was just the first possession of the game, but Rainier Beach was driving and thriving on offense against Eastside Catholic, the top-ranked Class 3A football team in the state.

Facing fourth-and-four at the Crusaders’ 20-yard line, Beach was looking for a statement play when quarterback Max Nall rolled right.

Instead, he got a quick rebuttal.

When Eastside Catholic captain Owen Stoutt came flying in on a cornerback blitz for a 14-yard sack of Nall, the door had slammed.

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The No. 1-ranked Crusaders clicked from the start on offense after the big stop, built a 42-0 lead thanks to 276 yards passing and four touchdowns from quarterback Zach Lewis to douse the excitement of a big game for Beach, 42-24 on Friday night in a Metro League Valley Division opener at Southeast Athletic Complex.

“Defense definitely sets the tone every game, and we try to follow that the best we can,” said EC receiver Marcus Stoebner, who caught seven passes for 110 yards. “We just started clicking on all cylinders and started playing our game, playing as us. It was us against us. We played the best we could tonight.

“We always expect a good game and expect them to fight us. They gave us a good fight.”

The Crusaders (4-0, 1-0 Metro) kept their foot on the gas pedal and only let off when there was a running clock 24 seconds into the second half in a game filled with double-digit NCAA Division I recruits.

The contest marked the first meeting of the two programs since Eastside Catholic posted a 49-8 win over the Vikings (2-1, 0-1) on Sept. 11, 2013.

“It’s definitely tough coming out originally with a team that’s maybe not as good as you,” said Stoebner. “You have to keep playing at that level you that know you can all the time. That’s definitely a challenge.”

The Crusaders, who lost to Kamiakin 30-27 in the Class 3A state semifinals last season, won back-to-back state titles in 2014 and 2015 with consecutive wins over Bellevue. EC has four state-championship appearances overall.

Could this team be another title contender? Stoebner is confident.

“We just have so many weapons,” he said. “Our receiving corps is best in the state. We run the ball. We pass the ball. We have…

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