It’s no secret that the Bellevue Wolverines have ruled football in state of Washington the past decade. After all, it’s not easy to hide 10 state championships in a 12-year span. And Friday night, Bellevue will look to take home its sixth straight title against Eastside Catholic at the Tacoma Dome.
But, at least when compared to places like California and Texas, it’s not that impressive to dominate Washington — not nationally considered a high-school football hotbed — right? Not necessarily.
Brandon Huffman, a recruiting analyst for Scout.com, grew up in Southern California, and his father works at prep football powerhouse Oaks Christian School.
“I know a lot about private schools in Southern California and how they try to control the monopoly,” Huffman said. “…But Bellevue, as a public school, is even more impressive in what they’re doing because they’re not one of those schools that people are taking the bus or train an hour away to go there.”
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Bellevue hasn’t shied away from playing national powers, either. In 2004, the Wolverines famously ended De La Salle’s (Calif.) 151-game winning streak. After losing at Katy (Texas) in 2009, Bellevue traveled to Oaks Christian and won. Last season, the Wolverines beat Trinity (Texas) in Seattle.
Bellevue is currently working toward finalizing a deal that would pit the Wolverines against Serra High School of Gardena, Calif., in The Honor Bowl in San Diego next September.
Despite his track record against teams in the top tier nationally, — and it should be noted that Bellevue could arguably be in that category, too — 14th-year coach Butch Goncharoff doesn’t think about how his team stacks up nationally, even though the Wolverines hold a 53-game winning streak.
“We’re a long ways from 151,” Goncharoff said. “If you’re De La Salle and you’re winning for 13 straight years or something, then you got something to talk about. You’re winning 50-something odd games, really, OK, whatever. Honestly, who really cares? To me, it’s just not that big a deal.
“We’re going to lose; somebody’s going to beat us at some point. It’s going to happen. We hope it’s not Friday — it could.”
Of course, there are others who would disagree. Huffman, for instance, believes Bellevue won’t lose until Goncharoff retires.
“He’s got that machine so well-oiled,” Huffman said. “What’s scary is their underclass talent, the 2015 and (2016) classes… are probably more talented than they’ve ever been.”