Jamyn Patu rushes for 259 yards and three touchdowns as the Fighting Irish, who were beat in overtime for the state title last season, return to take another shot.
O’Dea and Bellevue were bracing for a third overtime and trying to figure out what to throw at each other next in Saturday’s Class 3A state semifinal showdown between the two perennial powerhouses.
Until, suddenly, they weren’t.
In a back-and-forth game that seemed destined to continue, a missed extra point after a score in double overtime gave O’Dea a 34-33 victory over Bellevue at Pop Keeney Stadium. The win sends the Fighting Irish back to the Class 3A state title game for the second straight year.
Games at the Tacoma Dome
Class 4A title game
Richland (13-0) vs. Woodinville (13-0) , Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Class 3A title game
O’Dea (11-1) vs. Rainier Beach (9-2), Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Class 2A title game
Hockinson (13-0) vs. Tumwater (11-2) , Saturday, 10 a.m.
Class 1A title game
Royal (13-0) vs. Meridian (13-0), Saturday, 1 p.m.
Class 2B title game
Liberty (13-0) vs. Kalama (13-0), Friday, 4 p.m.
Class 1B title game
Almira/Coulee-Hartline (11-2) vs. Sunnyside Christian (12-0) , Saturday, 4 p.m.
“It was just a great high-school battle,” said Monte Kohler, who has coached O’Dea for over three decades. “It doesn’t get any better than that. Just two teams leaving it all on the field. That was just fun.”
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Both teams rode their workhorse running backs in the contest. O’Dea senior Jamyn Patu finished with 259 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries, including the go-ahead score in the second overtime that put the Irish ahead and the onus on Bellevue’s offense.
Led by senior running back Isaiah Ifanse, the Wolverines responded with Ifanse’s third score of the game to bring Bellevue to within one. It appeared the semifinal was headed to triple overtime until Jed Michael’s kick went just wide of the goal post, immediately igniting the celebration on the O’Dea sideline.
“We knew it was going to be a tough, close game,” Patu said. “Our focus was staying together and pushing through all the adversity we were facing. Playing 100 percent, no matter how many cuts or bruises we have.
“The only thing I was focused on is having faith in my teammates, that they would all execute their job while I’m executing mine.”
Ifanse finished with 32 carries for 163 yards. Quinn Sullivan (seven carries for 32 yards) and quarterback Joey Echigoshima, who had seven carries for 34 yards, each added a touchdown on the ground for Bellevue (11-2), which was trying to get back to the title game after it had to sit out the postseason last year because of WIAA sanctions. Bellevue was in the playoffs this year because it successfully petitioned the WIAA to reduce its postseason ban to one year.
O’Dea (11-1) is back in the Tacoma Dome a year after being upset by Kamiakin in overtime. This time around, the Irish will face another Seattle school: Rainier Beach (9-2), which beat Garfield 49-14 in the other semifinal.
“I’m tired, but I’ve got enough for another game,” Patu said. “It feels good to have another opportunity. Last year we got upset but this year we’re going to take it.”
The two teams exchanged the lead throughout the game, with the Irish answering every score by Ifanse and Bellevue. A 22-yard field goal by O’Dea’s Stephen Powell with four seconds to go in regulation tied the game at 20-20.
“I didn’t see what happened (on the PAT),” Bellevue coach Mark Landes said. “It’s just unfortunate that it comes down to that when two teams battle so hard in the trenches.
“This one is going to hurt for a little bit, but you have to just take the good with it and move on.”