“There’s nothing like watching our running back blow through the hole on his way to the end zone and all we have to do is jog down the field after him,” former Central Washington University tackle Coy Chittenden said with a smile after Eastern Washington’s 35-14 victory over King County in the Washington State Football League championship game on Saturday.

Eastern Washington’s Brandon Curtis hit the A-gap with a head of steam, blowing untouched into the King County defensive backfield. The 5-foot-9, former Eisenhower Cadet made one cut and was off to the races for an 81-yard touchdown burst on the game’s first play from scrimmage, igniting an estimated 75 people at Kittitas Secondary School stands.

The scoring started on an 81-yard Curtis touchdown run and ended with one last running showcase when Curtis broke off a 35-yarder through the Predators defensive backfield, capping a 254-yard day on 29 carries and two touchdowns to earn the East’s offensive most valuable player recognition.

Thing is, the former Cadet had runs of 33 and 35 called back on offensive holding that would have put him over 300 yards rushing.

“Yeah, but they’re the reason I had the other 250,” said Curtis, who had 160 yards on 10 carries in the first quarter alone. “The offensive line was phenomenal today. They’ve all been together for a long time. All I had to do was follow their lead.”

The Coyotes roster has 15 players who played semi-professional football for the Yakima Mavericks (Greater Northwest Football Association), including former Central Washington University players Daniel Gannon and Chittenden.

“We’ve been playing together seven years (of semi-pro) now,” said Chittenden, who played two seasons of Wildcat football (2003-04) before getting injured. “We do a lot of zone blocking, so we don’t have to hold the block long before our guys go through.”

The entire unit played together back in the Greater Northwest Football Association with the Mavericks. Chittenden and Michael Haggerty at the tackles, center Matt Rankin and guards Scott Millenbach and Adam Peters, did everything but put lane change markers down in paving the way for Curtis on his big day.

The Coyotes scored on their first two possessions. Curtis turned it loose on the first carry of the night and Eastern quarterback Dustin Price, who played the final football game of his career, found Deltay Redick in the corner of the end zone on a 20-yard scoring strike to cap a 40-yard, four-play drive with Redick’s acrobatic catch on the over-the-top throw.

“This is it for me. I’ve got some family obligations to take care of, but it’s sure been a lot of fun,” said Price, who was 6-of-11 for 141 yards. He threw for a touchdown and scored another running the football.

“We’ve got guys in this league that have been on Arena Football rosters or played college. It’s been a pretty high caliber of football and a challenge.”

Eastern Washington took a 28-0 lead when Kory Morgan, a 5-10, 300-pound interior lineman from Hermiston, Ore., chased down a high snap over the punter’s head and fell on the ball in the end zone. The Coyotes defense intercepted Predators quarterback Julius Calwash three times, including picks by former Central Wildcat Daniel Gannon, who was named the Eastern defensive player of the game.

“The players in this league, a lot of them, have played college football all four years. So, it’s not a summer beer league. The level is good, the league structure is good, so the competition is high,” Gannon said. “A championship is still a championship.

“We’ve put in all the work during the winter. There was that one time when Yakima was hit with a spring snow storm and we were still out there. Then you start playing through the summer heat. So to come away with the trophy and a championship still has meaning.”

King County finally scored in the third quarter Demetrius Rackley put together a nifty bit of running after the catch through the Coyotes defensive backfield for a 61-yard touchdown catch and run. Calwash, the King County offensive most valuable player, also connected with Juice Branham on a 21-yard scoring strike.


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