LIUFAU, DEFENSE LEAD LIONS
Bellarmine Prep did not let an early miscue get them down on offense against South Kitsap. After fumbling inside the Wolves’ five-yard line on the first drive of the game, the Lions went on to amass more than 550 yards, with quarterback Sefo Liufau passing for four touchdowns and the defense collecting five turnovers in a 31-12 win at home on Sept. 21.
“We could have punched the ball in a few more times, but the offensive line did a really good job of blocking up front,” said Liufau, who finished 20-for-28 for 312 yards and the four scores. “The play action was working really well. I was getting time in the pocket.”
Liufau got the Lions going on their second drive, scrambling for 18 yards early and later hitting a wide open Garrett McKay for a 40-yard score to put the Lions up 7-0.
South Kitsap quickly answered as Bryce Broome caught a 62-yard halfback pass and capped the drive with a four-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Kevin Whatley to make it 7-6.
But the Lions marched right back down the field, with Lou Millie churning out yards on the ground and Liufau hitting Calvin Chandler for a 20-yard score to make it 14-6 midway through the second quarter.
Millie then picked off Whatley on the first play of the next drive, and the Lions converted it into a 21-yard field goal by Matthew Philichi for a 17-6 lead at the half.
The Lions’ defense held down the Wolves in the second half, causing turnovers on all four South Kitsap drives, including two interceptions by McKay in Bellarmine territory.
“There are times where we’re going to bend but not break,” said Bellarmine head coach Tom Larsen. “They did (bend), but they also had some nice turnovers, so we’ll take every one we can. (The turnovers) were big ones.”
Liufau hit Drew Griffin on a wheel route for a 19-yard score early in the fourth to make it 24-6, igniting a quick scoring barrage. Broome took the ensuing kickoff back 99 yards for a score, but Liufau responded to hit Griffin for an 81-yard touchdown on the second play of the next drive to make it 31-12.
“Every night is amazing with him,” said Larsen of Liufau. “He always gives a great effort, and he’ll be the last one to take any credit for it too. He’s one where it doesn’t matter about the stats, it matters about his teammates.”
Millie was a workhorse on the ground for the Lions, totaling 29 carries for 166 yards. Griffin finished with five catches for 140 yards, while McKay had five catches for 82 yards and Chandler had six catches for 75 yards.
“Each one is great,” said Liufau of his main receivers. “Each one has a specialty of theirs. They complement each other very well.
“We’ve just got to go back to work now, because we can only improve from here.”
By Jeremy Helling
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