It was as if everyone at the Can-Am Summer Sevens tournament in Bellingham already had a pretty good idea of who was going to win. Having shared the spotlight last year, defending championship Chuckanut Bay and runners up Bayside were on cruise control. Nobody had even humored the thought of what was going to happen. Little known Eastside took out Bayside and dominated Chuckanut to take home the title 34-0.
From start to finish Eastside (meaning Eastside of Seattle) stuck to their motto of sticking together and playing like a team, a smart strategy considering the circumstances. Eastside went 5-0 and outscored opponents 170-41.
“This is our first sevens tournament as a team and the first time a lot of our guys have played the game of sevens,” head coach Josh Young said. “We wanted to stick to the basics and keep things as simple as possible.” It seemed to work as Eastside scored three times by doing all the fundamentals well and getting the ball out wide to their quick and speedy, with Aladdin Schirmer leading the way with two scores and his team blanking the defending champs at the half 19-0.
At the start of the second half, Chuckanut Bay showed a little improvement as back Nate Freimund got the ball out wide and broke a big run with only meters between himself and the first points for Chuckanut Bay. However, a lack of support by his teammates and hustle defense by Eastside, plagued his shot at glory and in the blink of an eye, Eastside had raced 90-meters for another try and a 24-0 lead.
After that, problems continued to pile up for the Steamers as a plethora of terribly timed dropped passes and consistent lack of support when they had possession lead to two more scores for the Lions. When the whistle sounded, the good news for Chuckanut was their nightmare was over and for Eastside; their version of a Cinderella story was complete.
“To be honest, we went into this tournament blind as to what we were going to look like compared to these other teams,” Schirmer said. “We have chemistry and combining that with our speed and athleticism was really all we needed against some really tough opponents.”