Bellevue hammers Skyline in matchup of defending champs
September 10, 2013
By Neil Pierson
In a battle of high-school football programs with 18 state championships between them, it was the Bellevue High School Wolverines who looked much more comfortable in a big-game environment.
Bellevue High School, winners of the last five Class 3A titles, forced three turnovers and ran up 418 yards of offense, leading to a 45-7 victory over two-time defending 4A champion Skyline on Sept. 7 at Husky Stadium in Seattle.
The Wolverines took control early on both sides of the ball, using their size and speed to overwhelm the Spartans at the line of scrimmage. At halftime, Bellevue led 35-0 and had three scoring plays of 40 yards or more.
Skyline head coach Mat Taylor indicated the lopsided loss was demoralizing, especially for a program that saw a 20-game winning streak come to a crashing halt. The Spartans hadn’t lost since Oct. 21, 2011, a 28-21 defeat to Eastlake.
“We got (outplayed) in every facet of the game,” Taylor said. “There were a lot of wide eyes out there. Basically, I can’t look at one spot where they didn’t just totally out-physical us, out-compete us, and we’ve got some things to get figured out.”
Bellevue’s explosiveness was on display from the opening kickoff. Of the Wolverines’ five scoring drives in the first half, none lasted longer than five plays.
“They’re young, we’re young in some ways, and I just think our big plays were the difference,” Bellevue head coach Butch Goncharoff said.
On Skyline’s second possession, quarterback Kilton Anderson fumbled, and Bellevue’s star player, Budda Baker, pounced on the ball at the Spartans’ 21-yard line.
Moments later, Baker dashed around the left side on fourth and 1 for a 12-yard score that put the Wolverines ahead for good.
Skyline managed only one first down on its next series, and after a punt, Bellevue was back in the end zone two plays later as Sam Richmond scampered 65 yards up the gut.
The Wolverines needed just one play to score on their next possession. Quarterback Timmy Haehl threw a short screen pass to Marek Spooner-Leduff, who eluded several tacklers on his way to a 66-yard scoring play.
Baker’s 47-yard touchdown run put the Wolverines up 28-0. He finished with 69 yards on seven carries, helping Bellevue rush for 324 yards as a team.
“I’ve had some great ones. He’s in the conversation as the best I’ve had,” Goncharoff said of Baker.
The Wolverines grew their lead to 45-0 early in the fourth period thanks to Cody Gibson’s 29-yard field goal and Christoph Hirota’s 15-yard TD run.
Skyline got on the board with five minutes to play when Anderson found a seam off the left side and ran in from 45 yards.
Those types of plays weren’t there for most of the game. Skyline was held to 182 yards on offense; Anderson completed only 11-of-24 passes for 77 yards and an interception.
Taylor said Skyline’s offensive line was overwhelmed, leaving little time for Anderson to run or throw. The Spartans also haven’t found consistent play from their wide receivers, although Taylor lauded the play of senior Cole Blackburn and junior Derek Loville.
Bellevue’s team speed and physicality wasn’t a surprise, the coach said.
“They added some new wrinkles here and there, but for the most part, it was what we saw on film,” Taylor said.
The Spartans are a less experienced team than the past two seasons, Taylor added, and while many players were on the sidelines for last year’s run through the state playoffs, few played significant roles.
“The bottom line — there’s a lot of new kids out there, and we definitely need to have a little gut check and re-evaluate things as an entire program,” Taylor said.
Skyline vs.Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
8 p.m. Sept. 13
Coeur d’Alene High School