Saturday, July 22, 2017 This Week's Paper

Bellarmine inches closer to league title


Like a speeding train rolling down the tracks toward a second consecutive league title, the Bellarmine Lions overcame a sluggish first quarter and went on to bury the Yelm Tornados by a score of 56-7 on Oct. 12 to set up a date with the Olympia Bears with the Narrows 4A title at stake. “We got off to a really slow start in the first quarter, but finished really well for an impressive win,” said Bellarmine head coach Tom Larsen. With Yelm’s odd offensive sets and a host of injured starters entering the game, Larsen had a number of questions that needed to be answered. When the Lions fell behind 7-0 late in the first quarter, the questions became more magnified.

“A lot of guys stepped up after that,” said Larsen. “Zach Ota was huge on the offensive line and Nick Dionas played well on defense. They were two of many who contributed tonight.” Starting on their own 39-yard line opening the second quarter, Bellarmine got down to business when Sefo Liufau hit Garrett McKay with a 47-yard touchdown strike to tie it 7-7. Just four minutes later, Brandon Thompson found the end zone from five yards out to cap a 65-yard drive in four plays to give the Lions a 14-7 lead. Leading 28-7 with 12 seconds left in the half, Liufau found McKay down the left sideline with an amazing, leaping catch to give the Lions a 35-7 lead at halftime. While Bellarmine was moving on the Tornados at will, the ground-pounding Yelm squad managed a paltry 63 yards on the ground in the first half, and wound up with 21 more in the second half for 84 total yards in the game. “We had not seen formations like that ever before,” said Dionas. “Coach (defensive coordinator Dan) Shaw was very happy with the win, and this was a great momentum-builder for Olympia next Friday.”

With familiarity breeds contempt, and there is much to be had in this burgeoning rivalry with Olympia on both sides. But as Larsen said, do not believe all the hype. “They know us and we know them,” he said. “Both teams know what is on the line and both will be ready to go on Friday night. It should be a great one. “Olympia is always a formidable team that likes to pound it, and we’ll have to get them in a lot of third-and-longs…we’ll be ready.”

By Steve Mullen

For blog updates on this weekend’s featured games visit The Daily Mash-Up at