With Bellarmine Prep defeating Puyallup and No. 3 ranked Sumner escaping Emerald Ridge, the 4A South Puget Sound League playoff seeding is set.
Coming in, Puyallup needed some help from the rest of their league for the chance to get into the playoffs. But after losing to fourth-place Bellarmine Prep, 31-21, all Puyallup (4-5, 3-5) could do is wait and hold its collective breath — needing Sumner to beat Emerald Ridge and Curtis to defeat South Kitsap..
“Right now, all I can do is go back to the locker room, keep their spirits up and tell my guys I love them,” Puyallup coach Gary Jeffers said. “Right now, I don’t know what to think about this game.”
With the win, Bellarmine Prep (6-3, 5-3) will be the No. 4 seed out of the 4A SPSL with the victory over the Vikings.
“I wasn’t comfortable until the clock read zeroes,” Bellarmine coach Brian Jensen said.
Czarshay Thomas sealed the win for the Lions when he intercepted Puyallup quarterback Nathaniel Holcomb in the back of the end zone with 1:50 left in the game.
“I read the route was a corner post — their quarterback’s (Holcomb) favorite play,” said Thomas, who finished with game-highs in rushing yards (177) and attempts (28) with a 52-yard touchdown at the end of the third. “All I was thinking was playoff football.”
Bellarmine’s normal workhorse Matthew Money finished with 42 yards on 13 carries.
“It was Czar’s night tonight,” Jensen said. “One of the things is Matt Money is one of Czar’s biggest fans.”
But with Sumner defeating Emerald Ridge, 49-42 in overtime, and Curtis defeating South Kitsap, 59-22, Puyallup wins the three-way tie for the final and No. 5 seed over Emerald Ridge and Curtis.
And that means Puyallup and its 4A SPSL passing record holder get to play a playoff game.
Holcomb complted 28 of 49 passes for 394 yards and three touchdowns, passing the 4A SPSL record with 3,408 passing yards in the regular season. Lakes’ Drew Miller previously held the record at 3,366 yards, which he set in 1995.
Coming into the game, quarterback Nathaniel Holcomb said he would throw away all the stats from over his historic senior season for a playoff berth, but he ended the regular season that saw him where the Vikings signal caller ended the game alone atop of the Vikings’ record books. Holcomb set new single-season marks for passing yards and passing touchdowns.
Holcomb needed 27 yards to tie Brendan Illies’ single-season Puyallup High School record of 3,043 yards in 2013.
Bellarmine Prep will travel to Todd Beamer (8-1), the No. 1 seed from the 4A NPSL Olympic division next week for the first round of the 4A district playoffs.
Puyallup will travel to Woodinville (9-0) next week.