Bothell humbles Issaquah 36-14 at Qwest Field
September 8, 2009
By Christopher Huber
Early mistakes, jitters, cost Eagles in opener
It took losing to Bothell at Qwest Field for Issaquah’s first-year starting quarterback Ryan Bergman to see what all the hype is about playing varsity football in KingCo.
Like many of his Eagle teammates, the 6-foot-2 senior came out of the gate Sept. 5 wide-eyed and a bit jittery when it faced the Cougars, whom they had beaten twice in 2008.
The excitement and pressure of the moment got to Issaquah and its early mistakes cost them a victory in its season opener in Seattle.
Bothell scored 20 points in the first and sailed to a 36-14 win over Issaquah.
“It’s just a learning experience for us, is the way I look at it, at least for me,” Bergman said after the game. “It opened up my eyes to what varsity football is really like and I’m ready for next week now.”
The game was the final match of the annual Emerald City Kickoff Classic at Qwest, which also featured Skyline vs. Jesuit, Oregon’s No. 1 6A team.
The Eagles, which brought back a strong core of starters — running back Grant Gellatly was out due to a pulled hamstring — got off to a messy start. Bergman threw an interception on the first play of the night, which set up Bothell’s first touchdown, a 22-yard run by Luke Proulx.
“We came out and we were just bad. We were just bad for about the first quarter and a half,” Issaquah head coach Chris Bennett said, making light of the work players and coaches have ahead of them. “We have a lot of guys that were very kind of wide-eyed and a little shell-shocked right out of the gate.”
It took Bothell running up a 29-point lead before Issaquah managed to kick it in gear on offense. During the first 18 minutes of regulation, the Cougar offense plunged through the Eagle defense for two touchdown passes and a 45-yard field goal.
“We had a tough time pass blocking them and we need to be a lot more physical up front if we’re going to be successful,” Bennett said.
Bothell’s defense even recovered a Bergman fumble in the end zone at the end of the first quarter.
But at the midway point of the second quarter, when Issaquah had every reason to lose hope, it managed to string together a 16-play, 84-yard touchdown run. Bergman connected with four receivers as Issaquah took nearly six minutes to run the field. They got on the board on a six-yard touchdown pass from Bergman to Evan Peterson.
“That’ kid’s going to get nothing but better,” Bothell coach Tom Bainter said of Bergman. “And I think we saw that in the game. He calmed down, he made some great reads, he had great poise in the pocket and he stepped up at times and he completed some big passes. That’s a good football team over there.”
Although the Bothell defense dominated throughout the game, at times Issaquah seemed to hold it at bay. The Eagles settled down in the second half and put together a 62- and a 55-yard drive to test the will of Bothell. Issaquah’s only other touchdown came late in the third, after recovering a Bothell fumble at the Cougar 18.
Bergman hooked up with Peterson for a 14-yard touchdown pass to the right corner of the end zone.
The Eagles (now 0-1) finished with 269 yards total offense.
“We’ll grow a lot from this,” Bennett said. “It’s not, obviously, the outcome we wanted … but we’ll be a better team for it and we have some guys that grew up a little bit tonight. And we’ll take those experiences on to next week.”
Reporter Christopher Huber can be reached at 392-6434, ext. 242, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.