EVERETT — Seeking its first state playoff victory in program history, the Jackson High School football team seemed well on its way to finally reaching that goal.
But then ultra-elusive Grant Gellatly and the Issaquah Eagles dropped the hammer.
After going ahead 21-0, Jackson was outscored 41-0 during a span that started late in the second quarter and continued into the fourth quarter. Issaquah’s dizzying, dazzling spurt was the difference in the Eagles’ 48-28 triumph over Jackson on Saturday in a Class 4A first-round state playoff battle at Everett Memorial Stadium.
The loss ended an otherwise spectacular season for previously unbeaten Jackson (10-1), ranked No. 4 by the Tacoma News Tribune. Wesco South champions in 2008 and 2009, the Timberwolves lost in the first round of state for the second straight year.
The main culprit this time was Gellatly, a speedy senior running back who racked up 253 yards and three touchdowns on 39 carries for unranked Issaquah (8-3).
“Issaquah played a great game. They had a great game plan,” Jackson coach Joel Vincent said. “Obviously they traveled up here and were ready to play.”
Quarterback Ryan Bergman threw four TD passes for Issaquah, which will play at top-ranked Bothell (11-0), its KingCo rival, in the quarterfinals.
Despite losing a fumble deep in Issaquah territory on the first offensive possession of the game, Jackson generated an outstanding start and was on top 21-0 midway through the second quarter. But Issaquah rallied with two TD drives in the final 5 minutes of the half.
Jackson’s first score came on an impressive 24-yard interception return by Doran Lusby, who jumped in front of a short pass and ran it to the end zone. With some teammates’ helpful pushes, he plowed through several Issaquah players the last 10 yards.
Jackson’s other two scores of the half came on two John Wilde receptions. He caught a 14-yard pass in the middle from Andy Gay and had a beautiful 83-yard catch-and-run on a long pass from Kyle Olson.
But after that Issaquah generated its 41-point spurt, completely changing the flow. The key was determination, said Gellatly.
“It’s our last season so we had nothing to lose,” Gellatly said. “We knew we had to lay it all out on the line, and if not we’re going home.”
“I liked our start. Heck, we were all over them,” coach Vincent said. “But they made some nice adjustments (and) I thought we could have tackled a little better.”
Jackson came into the game without two injured starting linemen (left tackle A.J. Coppage and center Walker Evans). A third O-lineman, Kiefer Anable, left the game with an injury, further hurting Jackson’s chances of mounting a comeback.
The fill-in linemen “did a good job this game, actually … but (injuries) may have caught up to us,” said Gay, Jackson’s QB. “But you’ve got to give Issaquah credit. They came out and played a heck of a game.”
Gay completed 15 of 31 passes (including one TD and one interception) for 151 yards.
Standout linebacker/running back Riley Carr (ankle) was also banged up but did his best to contribute on defense and some on offense. He was impressed by Gellatly and Issaquah’s linemen.
“They’re big up front and Gellatly’s a great running back. He gets extra yardage and that’s why he’s going to be playing at the next level,” Carr said.
Jackson’s Wilde, a junior, made four receptions for 119 yards and two scores. Wilde played well the last few games after recovering from a broken wrist in the first game of the season.
At Everett Memorial Stadium
JacksonLusby 24 interception return (Sullivan kick)
Jackson-Wilde 14 pass from Gay (Sullivan kick)
Jackson-Wilde 83 pass from Olson (Sullivan kick)
Issaquah-Dondoyano 10 pass from Bergman (Schumaker kick)
Issaquah-Gellatly 2 run (Schumaker kick)
Issaquah-Gellatly 2 run (Schumaker kick)
Issaquah-Gellatly 5 run (Schumaker kick)
Issaquah-Dondoyano 22 pass from Bergman (Schumaker kick)
Issaquah-Peterson 8 pass from Bergman (kick failed)
Jackson-Carr 22 pass from Gay (Sullivan kick)
Issaquah-Lemke 22 pass from Bergman (Schumaker kick)
Records-Issaquah 8-3. Jackson 11-0.
Mike Cane: email@example.com. Check out the prep sports blog Double Team at www.heraldnet.com/doubleteam.