Thirteen wins. Those are what Johnny Hekker wants to remember. More than any other Bothell High School football team has compiled in a season...

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Thirteen wins.

Those are what Johnny Hekker wants to remember.

More than any other Bothell High School football team has compiled in a season.

But it is that one loss that will haunt Hekker and his teammates.

For the second consecutive year, the Cougars’ dream season ended in a 21-14 loss in the Class 4A state championship game Saturday at the Tacoma Dome, this time to surprising Lewis and Clark of Spokane. Last year, Bothell lost by the same score to Oak Harbor.

“It’s a tough way to go out,” said Hekker, who threw a pair of key fourth-quarter interceptions, “but we made it this far. No. 2 isn’t bad. It’s not what we wanted, but it was a fun ride while it lasted.”

What a ride it was.

“We’re the first Bothell team to get 13 wins in a season, and that’s a great accomplishment,” Hekker said. “We really came in as a team, and that’s why it’s so disappointing.”

This game was supposed to be the salve for last year’s wound. But the top-ranked Cougars (13-1) couldn’t close against Lewis and Clark. The Tigers (11-2) won the school’s first football title to cap an improbable playoff run that featured three consecutive road trips to Western Washington.

“We were the only ones who thought we could win that game,” LC quarterback Taylor Eglet said after throwing the 51-yard, game-winning touchdown to Jordan Hanson with just over one minute to play. “We all believed.”

The Tigers got their chance when defensive tackle Steve Johnson dropped back in coverage and intercepted Hekker’s pass at the LC 30 to end a promising Bothell drive with 3:06 left and the score tied at 14. Eglet scrambled to his left on a second-and-four play near midfield and lofted the ball to first-year player Hanson.

Touchdown, Tigers. Heartbreak, Cougars.

Alex Shaw spearheaded the victory with a championship-game record 37 carries for 176 yards and a touchdown, which tied the game with 6:10 left. Eglet completed 8 of 14 tosses for 139 yards and no interceptions. Hekker was 14 of 25 for 196 yards, with three picks.

Patrick Ottorbech scored both of Bothell’s TDs, the second on a 53-yard catch-and-run play as the Cougars went up 14-7 with 9:40 to play. It wasn’t enough.

Coach Tom Bainter blinked back tears and lamented Bothell’s lack of execution.

“It’s frustrating,” he said. “We didn’t play the kind of game we wanted to play. … We’ve done this before. This doesn’t feel good.”

Bothell’s underclassmen already are rededicating themselves to a trip to the Tacoma Dome. Hekker plans to help drive them there.

“I’m going to get on them,” he said. “They’re going to be the hardest working class we’ve ever had. They’re going to be ready for it. They’re not coming in second place.”

Sandy Ringer: 206-718-1512 or sringer@seattletimes.com