By dispatching second-ranked Mount Si, their biggest threat of the season, the Wolverines showed again why they are worthy of national attention.
SNOQUALMIE — No one needed proof that Bellevue was good. No one doubted the Wolverines’ claim to the top spot in the Class 3A state rankings.
But by dispatching No. 2 Mount Si — their biggest threat of the year in Washington — 49-10 on Friday night, the Wolverines showed once again why they are worthy of a No. 4 national ranking by Sports Illustrated.
“We had no grand illusions,” Mount Si coach Charlie Kinnune said. “We know how good they are. Nobody knows how good they are better than I do. I’ve been around longer than anybody.”
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“They’re the class of the state, and I really have a hard time thinking there are three teams in the country that can beat that team.”
For weeks, following an overtime win against Trinity from Euless, Texas, in the season opener, Bellevue had beaten teams with ease. Starters were pulled by halftime, when games were already decided. Bellevue (7-0 overall, 5-0 KingCo 3A/2A) allowed only 14 points in the five games after beating Trinity.
Mount Si (6-1, 4-1) had showed equal dominance in the season’s first six games. The Wildcats posted four shutouts and frequently played with running clocks late in routs.
But the Wildcats don’t have future D-I college players like Bellevue’s Myles Jack and Budda Baker.
“This was a gut-check game,” Jack said. “We played Trinity several weeks before, so we hadn’t really been in a big game since then. It was big for us to see that we still have it.”
Mount Si’s stadium was packed more than an hour before kickoff, and 3,000 tickets were sold out a day before the game. Yet the hype didn’t last through the first quarter.
Jack gave Bellevue the lead two minutes into the game with a 19-yard touchdown burst up the middle. Baker followed with a 53-yard TD run, then tacked on another first-quarter score with a 36-yard interception return.
Jack provided the highlight of the night when he ran into a pack of Mount Si defenders, got pulled down but kept his knee from touching the turf and sped away for a 78-yard touchdown run.
“I was astonished,” Jack said. “I was gassed, and I couldn’t believe it. I thought I was going to hear the whistle, but I just kept going. I had seen the play when Oregon played Auburn in the national championship, so I just kept going.”
Max Richmond and John Nguyen also had rushing TDs before halftime, and Baker added the exclamation point late in the half with a 46-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Bellevue rushed for more than 300 yards, led by Jack’s 104 yards on four carries and Nguyen’s 93 yards on nine. The only wart on the Wolverines’ performance was in the penalty department: On one Mount Si drive, Bellevue had five, including two personal fouls.
“I’ll be 100 percent honest,” Bellevue coach Butch Goncharoff said. “I feel good about our athletes. I don’t feel great about our team yet. I think the hard part is, we have a lot of talent where in years past we haven’t been the most talented team. The problem with that is you don’t improve sometimes.”
Mount Si had only 71 yards in the first half and couldn’t limit Bellevue’s big defensive plays. Cameron Van Winkle kicked a 35-yard field goal for Mount Si in the second quarter, and Nick Mitchell threw a 4-yard TD pass to Griffin McLain in the final minutes.
Other than that, it was all Bellevue.
“This one’s already away,” Kinnune said. “We wanted to come out and have a good second half. It’s gone. We’re ready to go next week. We have practice at 9 a.m. tomorrow morning.”