BELLEVUE — The Bellevue Wolverines are known for their wing-T offense, which features a running game that is difficult to stop, but in Friday night’s Class 3A state first-round game against Lakes, it was the passing game that surprised the Lancers early in a 31-14 win.
After forcing the 10th-seeded Lancers (8-2) into a three-and-out on their opening possession, the No. 7 Wolverines (9-2) marched down the field behind senior running backs Joby Schneider and Alex Reid. But it was Reid’s throw on a halfback pass to senior Joshua Goates for a 30-yard touchdown pass that got the Wolverines’ offense going.
Goates wasn’t done.
On Bellevue’s second possession, he caught a 46-yard pass from junior quarterback Bryson Sleeper for another touchdown to give his team a 14-0 lead with 2 minutes, 3 seconds to play in the first quarter.
“We have the pass plays in the (playbook), but we don’t pass very much,” Goates said. “It felt really good. When they call the plays, I get super-excited. I get riled up, and get ready to make a play. When my name is called, I get ready to go make a play for my team.
“I want to take advantage of every opportunity that I get.”
Three players combined to throw six passes for Bellevue. Five of the six attempts were completed for 133 yards and Goates’ two scores.
“We want to throw the ball,” Bellevue coach Michael Kneip said. “We want to get the ball in more people’s hands to spread them out. They were stacking the box and running right at us. It was physical. That’s football. The kids did a good job of executing tonight.”
Kneip said his players enjoy the opportunity to show off the passing game, and Goates certainly reveled in his chance to catch a few passes.
“Josh is a lacrosse player, who decided to play football this year,” Kneip said. “He loves catching. He has so much fun. I told him, ‘If you block, you’ll score.’ Because if you can run it, you can get open in the flat. He did a great job.”
Reid helped take care of the rest, rushing 15 times for 137 yards and two touchdowns. Both touchdowns — a 26-yarder and a 30-yarder — came in the second half to help put the game away. Schneider added 94 yards on 23 carries.
“I said it in August, and I said it about Joby, too, they’re just great football players,” said Kneip, referring to his running backs. “They get overlooked because they aren’t the biggest. Alex is maybe 145 pounds and Joby is maybe 155 pounds. They aren’t very big guys, so they get overlooked by a lot of these guys and they kind of take that personal. They just love football though.”
The seventh-seeded Wolverines move on to play No. 2 Eastside Catholic (9-1) in next week’s quarterfinals. The two schools have a lot of history over the past decade, meeting in four consecutive state-title games (2012-15).
“We’re super excited,” Kneip said. “We’re in a slump against them. We’ve lost the last four times we’ve played them. Their (defensive coordinator) has us dialed up pretty good. … Our seniors want this game. That’s what you want; you want to play the best teams.
“It’s a personal week. I’m not even going to lie. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. It’s a personal week.”