TACOMA — With a tailback-turned-quarterback now running the show, and no clear-cut running-back replacement, the Bellarmine Prep Lions were set up to have offensive issues to sort out early this season.
Message from the other side of the ball: Take your time.
Ignited by a fumble return for a score, the fifth-ranked Lions tallied three touchdowns in a six-minute span in the second quarter, and cruised to a surprisingly-easy 41-0 victory over Central Kitsap at Memorial Field on Friday night.
Led by Millie in his third start at quarterback, the defending Narrows 4A champions rolled up a season-best 330 total yards.
“A lot of new people in new places,” Millie said. “And in the first two weeks, we saw glimpses of greatness. And I think this week we brought it all together.”
The start of the game was delayed a half-hour because of a thunderstorm that rolled through Tacoma an hour before the scheduled 7 p.m. kickoff.
When it finally started, the Cougars twice drove into Bellarmine Prep territory, reaching as far as the Lions’ 37-yad line to end the first quarter.
On the first play of the second quarter, Central Kitsap’s Andrew Schwieterman – an especially slippery quarterback on a wet field – was winding up for a long throw downfield when Lions’ safety Lou Millie hit him for a sack.
The ball popped out, and into the waiting arms of defensive end Jamal Ervin, who raced the other direction for a 60-yard touchdown on a fumble recovery to give the Lions a 7-0 lead with 11:50 remaining in the first half.
The touchdown noticeably lifted the spirits of the Bellarmine Prep defense – and crushed the Cougars, who went three-and-out on their next three drives, gaining a total of seven yards.
And that was the window Bellarmine Prep needed to seize control of the game. The Lions scored two touchdowns in three minutes – the first on Millie’s 30-yard scamper around the left end, and then his 37-yard pass to Garrett McKay down the right sideline at the 5:46 mark of the first half.
The last one gave Bellarmine Prep a 20-0 lead at halftime.
“It got to a point we saw a team that wanted it more than we did in that first half,” Central Kitsap coach Mark Keel said. “We had no answer.”
The Lions offense moved the football when it had to Friday, but still is in discovery mode. They might have found a new running back they can lean on in junior Nathan Goltermann.
Coming into the season, Goltermann – a jitterbug-of-a-scatback – was expected to see eight to 10 carries as part of a tailback rotation with Ervin and others.
But much of the early offense went through him Friday as he touched the ball on 10 of the Lions’ first 16 plays.
“He is a tough kid,” Millie said. “He is a boxer, that is why he is so tough. He is fun to watch.”
And Goltermann gave Bellarmine Prep a 27-0 lead midway through the third quarter on a 22-yard touchdown run.
The Lions limited Central Kitsap to 48 rushing yards, registered five sacks and intercepted two passes.
Todd Milles: 253-597-8442