Everybody loves the Cinderella story in sports. For whatever reason, whether it’s a person or a team accomplishing the improbable, people always stand up and cheer. On Saturday, at the Subway Summer Championships in Tacoma, it was Eastside against Chuckanut in the state championship game and the stakes were higher than ever. Both team started slow, but Eastside keep its streak against Chuckanut alive with a 38-7 win.
Back at the Can-Ams in Bellingham, these two teams faced each other in the championship match. This time however, the roles were reversed and so was the home team. For Chuckanut, it was about revenge, for Eastside a chance to go undefeated in their first ever run through the summer 7s venue.
Before Bellingham, Eastside players had never played in a sevens tournament, now they were playing for a title. “It’s been really exciting to watch this team this year,” Eastside head coach Josh Young said. “These guys have done a lot this year and they’ve done it all together and have been able to grow as a family and that’s what has been one the keys to our success.”
At the beginning of the game, both teams were sluggish with penalties and mental errors that would make a coach frustrated beyond belief. However, when things settled, the scoreboard started to light up. Chuckanut started the show with an early 7-0 advantage. Eastside would counter quickly with an incredible run by Aladdin Schirmer up the middle of the defense.
Eastside would get on the scoreboard one more time before the half to take a 14-7 advantage. When the second half started, any and all nervousness that plagued Eastside in the first was gone and went back to their game plan. “We were all too excited in the first half,” Schirmer said. “Once we calmed down, we went back to our game plan and executed it.”
Whatever that game plan was, it worked and Eastside looked like a completely different team. Whomever had the ball for Eastside, seemed as though they were on a mission, dragging defenders and breaking tackles. Shirmer, who had a hat trick with three scores, scored his first of the second half by juking out two defenders and running in untouched for a score. Two minutes later, he was back when he got the ball out wide, made the first defender miss with a juke and side stepped the next in a highlight-like run that his teams were yelling “dirty” and “filthy.”
“I’m ecstatic,” Schirmer said. “We have really gelled as a team this and it’s been a lot of fun to learn this game. I have to thank God and everyone out there. I’m a very religious person and I always make a priority to thank him and what he has done for me.”