The Bellarmine Prep Lions scored 17 points in the last three minutes of the game to come all the way back from a 21-0 deficit to defeat the Newport Knights 38-35 on Saturday afternoon in the opening round of the 4A state playoffs.
A 20-yard field goal by Matt Phillichi with nine seconds left proved to be the game winner, as the Lions will advance to the state quarterfinals for the fourth consecutive year. They will host Bothell – a familiar playoff opponent – at Mount Tahoma Stadium on either Friday or Saturday.
“I’m just so proud of how this team has found their own way to have success,” said Lions head coach Tom Larsen. “Obviously there were many individuals who really stepped up tonight when it really counted. I am really proud of them.”
Garrett McKay came up big for the Lions, finishing with 14 catches for 232 yards and three touchdowns.
The Lions were searching for answers in the first half on how to stop Newport running back Connor Baumann, who ran for 170 yards and three touchdowns. But they limited him to just nine carries for 29 yards in the second half.
Looking forward to the quarterfinals, the Lions should be familiar with Bothell, having played them in the quarterfinals two of the last three years. Coach Tom Bainer should have his Cougars more than ready.
“I have just the utmost respect (for him), his players always come ready to play, they know what it takes this time of the season,” said Larsen.
With Bellarmine finding their niche at the right point of the season, Larsen likes the position his team is in at this point. “These kids are learning what it takes to win at this point in the season, it could only bode well for this team as the playoffs progress,” said Larsen.