A year ago, it was a close contest. On Friday night, it was a warm-up for East.
The No. 1-ranked Leopards displayed a grinding run game and a dominant defensive line that helped them roll to a 35-0 win over Pine View, a team that nearly knocked them off in 2011.
But this version of East looked fierce, rolling up 172 yards of offense in the first half alone, 164 of them with the run. Despite a few miscues in the passing game and an ample helping of penalties, East's first test went as well as expected.
"Last year, I played real sloppy," defensive end Korey Rush said. "We wanted to prove that we can be the best D-line in the state. We just hit 'em hard."
The Leopards came straight at Pine View, hitting the Panthers with unhealthy doses of running back Ula Tolutau. The 225-pound junior pounded away for 130 yards and two touchdowns in the game, leading East to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter.
The first half was nothing but disaster for Pine View, which was still scoreless at halftime. Sophomore quarterback Kody Wilstead, considered one of the state's top up-and-comers, threw two interceptions in the first half before being helped off the field with an ankle injury.
The Panthers had to turn to Dylan Draper to lead their attack, but it seemed nothing could stop a fierce and physical East defense. Linemen Korey Rush, Sesi Salt and P.J. Nu'usa made sure Pine View's backfield didn't have much room to breathe. Prentiss Miller, one of Class 3A's top returning rushers, was held to 64 yards on 15 carries.
"We were able to kind of key in on Miller," coach Brandon Matich said. "I thought our coaches prepared our guys real well, and they played great up front."
Storylines East 35,Pine View 0
R Ula Tolutau leads the rushing attack with 130 yards and two touchdowns.
• Preston Curtis scores, and Jewka Patetefa adds two TDs.