Entering Friday night’s 1A top-10 showdown, host Riverside and Lakeside had combined to score 417 points through the first six weeks of the season.
So it was a bit of a surprise to Lakeside coach Devin Bauer that the scoreboard read 0-0 at halftime.
“Obviously, we didn’t light it up in that first half or through the air, but we’ve got dynamic guys who can run the ball, so we had to make some adjustments,” Bauer said.
With third-ranked Riverside limiting Lakeside’s potent passing attack to 46 yards in the first half, the ninth-ranked Eagles turned to the ground after halftime and then leaned on a stellar defensive performance to earn a 6-0 victory and remain unbeaten with two weeks left in the Northeast 1A regular season.
Sophomore running back Sadahiro Patterson shined for the Eagles (7-0, 4-0 NEA), running the ball 13 times for 83 yards and the game’s lone touchdown near the end of the third quarter. Patterson, who carried the ball only twice in the first half, was filling in for senior starter Jesse James, who was injured on the first play of the game.
“We knew they were a physical football team, and going into the break at 0-0 we knew we had to turn something up,” Patterson said. “We came out hungry and wanted to just pound the ball. We are usually a pass-first team, but with that second half it was the mindset of don’t fix it if it ain’t broke with the running game.”
Patterson’s 3-yard dive into the end zone capped a 17-play drive for the Eagles, which took up nearly 10 minutes of the third quarter.
On defense, Lakeside limited Riverside duel-threat quarterback Silas Ng to 63 yards on 6-of-13 passing with four interceptions. Ng did have some success on the ground, rushing 12 times for 72 yards, but the Eagles seemed to always have a key takeaway or third-down stop up their sleeves.
“Tonight was not about getting physically beat down,” Riverside coach Buddy Wood said. “It was about mental errors and execution, which are things we can control and bounce back from next week and through the rest of the season.”
Patterson secured two of the picks, while Tomio Yamada and Peyton Pergi also had interceptions.
“I love this secondary so much, every day we go out there and work so hard,” Patterson said. “Riverside loves to just run down people’s faces, but we held them to nothing today because our guys up front did their work and they knew the secondary had their back.”
Lakeside quarterback Kole Hunsaker, who has impressed with his arm for the pass-first Eagles this season, completed just 11 of 21 passes for 68 yards and an interception. But the 6-foot-2 junior more than made up for the struggles through the air by carrying the ball 13 times for 59 yards, including a 29-yard dash for a crucial first down late in the fourth quarter.
“I like to think of myself as a duel-threat QB, but I haven’t had to really express that,” Hunsaker said. “Those big plays just give us confidence. They give our line confidence to just go down and finish.”
Lakeside is in control of its destiny for a league title and local playoff games depending on where it lands in the WIAA’s RPI after the victory. The Eagles travel to Deer Park on Friday, while Riverside (6-1, 3-1) is at Colville.
“We haven’t won anything yet and nothing is over,” Hunsaker said. “Deer Park and Freeman are good teams, so we have two weeks left to prove that we are the best in the league.”
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