Saturday, June 24, 2017 This Week's Paper

Foss outlasts Wilson to keep playoff hopes alive

// Bellarmine cruises, Life Christian struggles

Facing a must-win situation, Foss’ Isaiah Littlejohn was determined to make a difference after sitting out the first half. The junior quarterback – who didn’t practice much of the week due to a concussion – scored two rushing touchdowns in the second half, and the hard-hitting Foss defense held off Wilson for a 14-13 win in foggy conditions on Oct. 18 at Stadium Bowl.

“The first half we were struggling, so I knew my team needed me in the second half,” Littlejohn said. “In the locker room everyone was talking to me, everyone was saying ‘Isaiah, we need you.’ I told them, ‘I need you guys.’ I didn’t want it all on me, because in order to win it’s a team (effort)…without my team I would be nothing.”

Wilson took a 7-0 lead with 3:26 to go in the first quarter when quarterback Julius Yates-Brown hit tight end A.J. Ruffin for a nine-yard touchdown pass on a nice play action. Yates-Brown scored on a one-yard plunge on the Rams’ next possession to cap an 11-play, 59-yard drive. But the point after was missed, making it 13-0 with 7:51 until the break.

Littlejohn then went under center for Foss after halftime, ripping off a 45-yard run on the Falcons’ third play of the second half and capping the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run two plays later.

“He’s a dynamic kid,” said Foss head coach Pat Johnson of Littlejohn. “That’s what he does. That big play definitely was the spark we needed.”

With fog enveloping the field in the late stages, the Falcons’ Baacari Kiner set up the eventual game-winning score early in the fourth quarter, picking off Wilson quarterback Julius Yates-Brown and returning it 39 yards to the Rams’ 21-yard line. Littlejohn scored on a nifty five-yard scramble two plays later.

Wilson drove deep into Foss territory twice in the second half only to be denied any points. After getting to the Falcons’ 25-yard line on their second possession of the third quarter, senior running back Isaiah Simpson – who had 25 carries for a game-high 130 yards – fumbled at the 8-yard line after an 18-yard gain on a screen pass. They had a chance to answer Littlejohn’s second score late in the fourth quarter – marching to the Falcons’ 24-yard line in nine plays – but Yates-Brown’s pass sailed out of the end zone on 4th-and-9 to turn the ball over on downs with less than three minutes remaining.

“We had opportunities in the red zone and couldn’t score,” said Wilson head coach Don Clegg. “Give credit to them, because they played a really good defensive game.”

The Falcons had a chance to run out the clock, but Ruffin recovered a fumbled exchange on the first play to give the Rams the ball at the Foss 20-yard line. But Simpson fumbled it right back two plays later, as Foss defensive lineman Patiole Pesefea fell on the ball at the Falcons’ 12-yard line. Littlejohn’s third-down, nine-yard scamper then allowed Foss to run out the clock.

Littlejohn finished with six carries for 67 yards, while Devon Clark had 12 carries for 63 yards for the Falcons.

While Littlejohn came up big for Foss in the second half, the defense – led by huge hits from Mike Cock’e, Chris Reynolds, Kaydron Miller and Tray Williams – was even bigger in holding down the Rams’ powerful attack.

“We preach good defense,” Johnson said. “When I got here I wanted to grind the ball out, play defense and be physical. We got in the weight room this summer and we’re starting to play.”

The win was a big boost to Foss’ playoff hopes, as they sit just a game behind the first-place Rams at 3-2 in league play. Two more big-time Narrows 3A showdowns are on tap, as the Rams travel to take on Lincoln – who sits tied for second place at 3-1 in league play – on Oct. 25. Foss then hosts Lincoln in the season finale on Nov. 1 at Mount Tahoma Stadium.

By Jeremy Helling


Coming off a stinging nonleague loss to Tumwater on the road, Bellarmine Prep wondered what might jump up and bite them this week when they faced off against Yelm. Surrounded by a thick fog, junior Nate Golterman would have no thoughts of failure, as he sprinted for a 63-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage and the Lions coasted for a 53-14 win over the Tornadoes on Oct. 19.

“We were a little sloppy today at times, and we’ll have to play a lot better in the coming weeks if we are to win the Narrows 4A,” said head coach Tom Larsen.

The Lions rolled up a 40-7 lead by halftime, with Lou Millie connecting with Matt Ogard, Drew Griffin and Garrett McKay for touchdown passes. Goltermann, meanwhile, added three more short touchdown runs to complete the scoring for the Lions.

“We took it to them early and left no doubt as to the outcome,” said Golterman, who finished with 235 yards on the night.

With the game already decided, Larsen used the second half to gain experience for some of the younger players. “We’ve been a little banged up at times this year, and getting the underclassmen this playing really helps,” he said.

With Bellarmine sitting at 6-1 overall, and 4-0 in league play, the Lions now face two tough games as they host Olympia on Oct. 25 and travel to take on Gig Harbor – tied for first place at 4-0 – on Nov. 1.

“We’ve got to stay more focused,” said Larsen. “This league is there for the taking, and we’ll see what transpires in the next two weeks as we prepare to face a good Olympia team. Coach (Bill) Beattie always has his troops ready.”

By Steve Mullen


Harry Lang Stadium was alive with anticipation on Oct. 19 as the Life Christian Eagles tried to get back in the playoff race against the Port Townsend Redskins. But Port Townsend had other ideas, as quarterback Jeff King scored on a 62-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter to take a 14-6 lead on the way to a 63-12 win for the Redskins.

The Eagles would try to turn to their own multifaceted runner, quarterback Taylor Roelofs, but the Port Townsend defense would keep him in check for most of the night as Life Christian failed to get any kind of consistent offense generated. Leading 14-6 entering the second quarter, Port Townsend quickly began to pull away, using an 8-play, 71-yard drive to take a 22-6 lead. Roelofs would find minimal success with the short passing game, as the Port Townsend defense would be there at every turn. King, Matthew Cain and David Sua pounded the Life Christian front to the tune of 328 rushing yards.

As has been the case all season long, the Eagles would not go down without a fight as Roelofs would find Michael McKay open for a 36-yard touchdown strike to finish on a high note with 4:37 left in the game. Next up for the Eagles is a game at Cedar Park Christian on Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. at Juanita High School near Bellevue.

By Steve Mullen