Bellarmine outlasts Bothell for quarterfinal berth

Memories of 2010 were fresh on the mind of Bothell coach Tom Bainter, whose team surrendered a 21-0 lead in the state quarterfinals that year to lose 28-21 to Bellarmine Prep in the final seconds. Feeling confident, Bainter predicted a win in the pages of the Seattle Times leading up to the matchup on Nov. 10.

It would be a story Bellarmine would refuse to read. Led by Lou Millie’s 191 rushing yards, the Lions held on to defeat Bothell by a score of 35-30 to advance to the state quarterfinals on Nov. 17 against the Gonzaga Bullpups in Spokane.

“Our kids came ready to play, and they came well prepared against a great team in Bothell,” said Bellarmine head coach Tom Larsen, whose team advances to the state quarterfinals for the third consecutive year.

Before the fans found their seats in the first quarter, Bellarmine’s Drew Griffin got them up again, returning the opening kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown to give the Lions a 7-0 lead. But running back Danny Wilson would equalize for the Cougars late in the first, scoring from two yards out. Bothell would then assume the lead after a fumble recovery deep in Lions territory, and quarterback Ross Bowers hit Jared Berry with a 14-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter to go up 14-7.

“I was proud of the way our kids responded to adversity,” said Larsen. Bellarmine answered with three second-quarter touchdowns for a 28-17 lead at the half.

The key point in the game came late in the third quarter, when Sefo Luifau engineered a 15-play, 86-yard drive that culminated with a 29-yard pass to Logan Hickman on 4th-and-2 to give the Lions a 35-17 lead. Millie did his part by running for 46 yards on 10 carries on the drive to put the Lions in a great position to win. And they would need every one of those points.

Bothell stormed back to cut the lead to 35-30 with 2:26 to go in the game, but the Lions then recovered an onside kick to salt away the hard-earned win.

“We had them pinpointed early,” said Liufau, who threw for 185 and two touchdowns on the afternoon. “Our coaches did a great job of putting together our game plan…I’m so proud of our big guys up front, especially on the 86-yard drive. They’ve been big all year long.”

“Gonzaga Prep is a lot like Bothell, they’re a big and physical team,” said Larsen of the Lions’ next opponent. “We’ll have to bring our ‘A’ game next Saturday afternoon.”

“I can’t say enough about my teammates these last four years,” said Luifau. “It’s been a real blessing to play with them. “We are not going to be satisfied with this win. We need to get back to the Dome for the semis like we did two years ago.”


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