Sam McPherson started the game by taking the opening kickoff back for a touchdown. He ended it by forcing a pair of turnovers — a diving interception and a fumble recovery — to clinch victory for Bothell.
In between, anything and everything seemed to occur during a back-and-forth battle between the Cougars and Coeur D’Alene. Bothell wound up on top, 44-43, after scoring a pair of touchdowns in the final three minutes at the Emerald City Kickoff Classic.
“It was honestly just the most amazing thing,” said McPherson, who had 195 total yards, a touchdown, seven tackles, and two turnovers forced. “We were down, what, 13 in the last three minutes? I’m just happy to be a part of it.”
McPherson’s performance, his coach said, was simply par for the course.
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“He’s our punter, he’s our safety, he’s our running back, he returns kicks, he returns punts,” coach Tom Bainter said. “He does everything.”
Down 30-14 at the half, Bothell (1-0) stormed back to tie it at 30 before Coeur D’Alene (1-1) tacked on two more scores behind quarterback Gunnar Amos.
After a Bothell touchdown with 2:39 left on the clock, Bainter’s defensive coordinator talked him out of an onside kick.
“He said we could stop ‘em,” Bainter said.
Stop ‘em the Cougars did. And on the first play of their next possession, quarterback Ross Bowers lofted a pass 39 yards to Colton Sather in the corner of the end zone to put Bothell on top.
McPherson made sure they stayed on top, ending the Vikings’ final two possessions — first with an interception and then with a fumble recovery he nearly took back for a touchdown.