It’s easy to get caught up in all of the offensive pyrotechnics with passing-heavy offenses and zone-read option runs. But football is simple, said Bellarmine Prep coach Tom Larsen, and sometimes people forget that.
Going exclusively with a running game that produced 511 yards, the Lions claimed their third consecutive 4A Narrows League title on Friday by coolly dispatching Gig Harbor, 59-14, at Roy Anderson Field in Purdy.
Bellarmine’s running game prevailed over the Tides’ Oregon-esque offense. And the experience of the Lions – they’ve gone deep into the state playoffs in recent years, including a trip to the finals in 2012 – proved to be more than the rising Tides could handle.
“They realized what was at stake and they became a tighter team. Although some of our kids haven’t been there for all the playoff games, you can’t help but think this is just another one of those types of games,” Larsen said.
The Lions – who attempted one pass (incomplete) – didn’t need to throw because they were ripping off big runs behind running backs Nate Goltermann and Jamal Ervin.
Goltermann ran for 179 yards on 10 carries, scoring on runs of 78 and 80 yards – all in the first half. Ervin scored four touchdowns, getting into the end zone on runs of 67, 6, 2 and 88 yards. He finished with 187 yards on eight carries.
“Any play can break,” Goltermann said. “But I think those big runs were what really got us going. Those big runs got us really hyped up.”
And deflated the Tides, Gig Harbor coach Aaron Chantler said.
“After the early scores, the whole feeling was off,” he said. “We made a lot of mental mistakes. It’s pretty frustrating.”
Bellarmine quarterback Lou Millie, who ran for 78 yards on 12 carries, scored the Lions’ first two TDs on 1-yard sneaks, the first of which was set up by a fumbled Gig Harbor punt that gave Bellarmine a first-and-goal at the Tides’ 1. Goltermann’s 78 yard TD capped the Lions’ first quarter and gave them a 21-0 lead.
It was 52-0 at halftime as Bellarmine (7-2 overall, 5-1 in league) had 356 yards, while the Tides managed 86 – completing just one pass in 16 attempts. The Lions’ Drew Griffin had two interceptions in the first half.
“We knew we were going to get their best football, and we were really worried about them throwing the ball over the top,” Chantler said. “But they came out and ran the ball down our throats.”
Despite the loss, Gig Harbor (7-2, 5-1) is in the playoffs one year after finishing 3-7 in Chantler’s first season.