The Bellevue High School football dynasty mushroomed Friday night at the Tacoma Dome.
The Wolverines’ 52-20 win over Eastside Catholic gave them their sixth consecutive Class 3A state title, their 11th victory in a row in a state final, and their state-record 54th win overall.
“It’s been awesome,” coach Butch Goncharoff said. “We lost a lot of great players last year. These kids came in – we only had 10 seniors – and they battled and got better all year. ... They responded tonight. Eastside’s got a great team, and both teams are young. It’s going to be very fun. It was
Two-way senior Timmy Haehl launched Bellevue on its way early. First, he snuffed Eastside Catholic’s promising first possession with an interception in the end zone.
On the Wolverines’ first possession, he connected with Ross Connors beyond the Crusaders’ secondary for a 65-yard touchdown. Then he increased Bellevue’s lead to 14-0 early in the second quarter with a 70-yard touchdown run.
Eastside Catholic immediately answered with a 57-yard drive that halved Bellevue’s lead when quarterback Harley Kirsch sneaked over from the 1.
But Bellevue blew it open with touchdowns on its next three possessions – two by Sam Richmond and another by Haehl – to take a 35-7 lead at the half.
“We’ve been preparing for so long,” Haehl said. “We brought out the big guns tonight, and it paid off. They kind of had me not running in the middle of the season, but we had it this time.”
The main suspense of the second half was seeing how high the numbers would add up.
Haehl led all rushers with 116 yards on eight carries. He also completed all seven of his passes for 91 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. Running back Budda Baker, who earlier Friday was named The News Tribune’s state player of the year, rushed 18 times for 101 yards and a touchdown.
Eastside Catholic’s Kirsch completed 27 out of 37 passes for 266 yards and a touchdown, but he was intercepted twice.
Goncharoff was asked how this title compares with the others.
“They’re all cool,” he said. “Every one’s different. That’s what makes high school football so much fun. Every season’s different. Every group’s different. That was awesome.”Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org