After erasing self-doubts about another deep postseason run, Bellarmine Prep’s focus was squarely on Kamiak, the No. 5 seed from the Wesco 4A. In front of a packed house at Mount Tahoma Stadium, the Lions amassed 443 yards of total offense – 332 yards on the ground – to cruise to a 63-21 win on Nov. 9 and advance to face Newport in the opening round of the 4A state playoffs.
“I was proud of the way we both started and finished,” said Lions head coach Tom Larsen. “Give a lot of credit to our offensive line as they were a big reason for our success on the ground tonight.”
The main cog in the offensive engine was junior running back Nate Goltermann, who ran for 234 yards and five touchdowns on the night.
“We kept it pretty simple tonight, and that’s the way we got it done,” said Golterman. “We’ll have to keep it rolling next week too.”
Quarterback Lou Millie got the Lions on the board early, bootlegging around right end untouched to the end zone from 23 yards out to cap a 67-yard drive in just five plays for a 7-0 lead just two minutes into the game. Following a Kamiak fumble, Goltermann found the end zone from seven yards out for a 14-0 lead just 12 seconds later.
The Knights responded by marching 90 yards in nine plays, cutting into the deficit on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Becker to Henderson Belk.
The Lions regained their two-touchdown lead at 21-7 on a 3-yard Goltermann touchdown run late in the first quarter. Leading 28-14 at the end of the first quarter, the Lions would find the end zone on three consecutive possessions – including two touchdown passes from Millie to Garrett McKay – to take a 49-14 lead at the half.
“Our running game worked really well and it led us to the big win tonight,” McKay said. “Our O-line was fantastic tonight.”
Kamiak was able to move the ball offensively – finishing with over 300 yards of offense – but the Lions’ defense stepped up when it counted, recovering two fumbles and snagging three interceptions in the game.
“We played really disciplined tonight after we gave up those two early scores and we came together really well as a unit,” said Lions senior defensive lineman Matt White.
After cruising in the second half, the Lions began preparing for the game at Newport on Nov. 16 at 2 p.m. The winner moves on to face either Bothell or Graham-Kapowsin in the quarterfinals.
“They are a really good team from a great conference,” said Larsen of Newport. “Our work will be cut out for us.”
By Steve Mullen
LINCOLN FALLS TO EASTSIDE CATHOLIC
A year after travelling to face eventual state champ Bellevue in the opening round of the playoffs, Lincoln faced another tough road matchup in reigning 3A state runner-up Eastside Catholic. A pair of first-half turnovers contributed to a 21-point deficit, and the Abes couldn’t claw back in an eventual 41-21 loss to the Crusaders on Nov. 8 in the 3A Bi-District playoffs.
With Crusaders starting running back Henry Jarvis injured early, backup Brandon Wellington – who finished with 20 carries for a game-high 148 yards – put Eastside Catholic up with a 4-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter to cap a 14-play, 87-yard drive. Lincoln looked like it would answer right back, driving 70 yards in 11 plays to the Crusaders’ 1-yard line, but Marcus Johnson fumbled on 3rd-and-goal, and Eastside Catholic recovered. Wellington led them back downfield, and quarterback Harley Kirsch connected with Colin MacIlvennie for a 20-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-0.
“When you’re playing against a good football team like that you can’t miss opportunities,” said Lincoln head coach Jon Kitna. “That’s playoff football. It’s new for our kids. We’re continuing to try to build our football program. We’re proud of what we did this year, but we’ve got to keep getting better. We’ve got to develop a different attitude and mindset as a football program. We’re getting closer.”
Linebacker Moni Ioane intercepted Lincoln quarterback Jordan Kitna on the fifth play of the next drive, and Elisha Pa’aga scored from a yard out with four minutes to go in the first half to make it 21-0. But the Abes then found success with an up-tempo attack, moving 80 yards in 12 plays, as Kitna capped the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run with less than a minute to go in the first half. Kitna was 6-for-7 for 51 yards on the drive, and finished 15-for-23 for 185 yards in the game.
Eastside Cathlolic stole momentum right back, as MacIlvennie’s 58-yard kickoff return set up the Crusaders at Lincoln’s 36-yard line, and Kirsch connected with Devon Arbis-Jackson for a 15-yard touchdown to make it 28-7 at the break.
Lincoln struck quickly in the second half to cut into the lead, as Kitna connected with running back Rayshaun Miller for an 80-yard touchdown on a screen pass to cut it to 28-14 on the Abes’ third play from scrimmage.
“Coach called the play, we executed it well and I got in the open field,” said Miller, who led the Abes with 25 carries for 123 yards. “I thought we had momentum, but (Eastside Catholic) is a really good football team.”
Wellington capped another long drive with a 2-yard touchdown run, and Kirsch later connected with Colin Boit on a 22-yard touchdown pass to make it 41-14 late in the third quarter. The Abes got some late life when linebacker B.J. Hawthorne scooped up a fumble from running back Fesili Wynn and scampered 80 yards for a touchdown to complete the scoring.
Lincoln finishes with an 8-2 overall record, having advanced to the playoffs for the third straight season.
“I’m very proud,” said Miller. “To have an 8-2 season, that’s all I can really ask for. It sucks to go out like this, but I did what I can and I’m excited to see these guys in the future.”
By Jeremy Helling