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Wolverines use five takeaways to top Skyline | Prep Football
Bellevue’s renowned Wing-T offense is always at the center of things when the Wolverines are in action. But the defense is doing its best to steal some of the spotlight.
Not only did Bellevue hold Skyline scoreless through the entire second half during Friday’s 31-17 win, the Wolverines forced turnovers on four of the Spartans’ five drives in the final two quarters.
“It was huge to win the turnover battle,” Bellevue head coach Butch Goncharoff said. “It was a typical Bellevue-Skyline game, you never know what’s going to happen.”
The first Wolverines' takeaway came on a Jack Meggs interception near the end of the first quarter that set up a 16-yard touchdown run from Andy Boulware to make the score 10-7 in favor of the Wolverines.
After taking a 17-17 tie into halftime, Bellevue quarterback Tyler Hasty scored from four yards out to cap a seven play drive to begin the third quarter and again give his team the lead. Skyline moved the ball to the Bellevue 24 yard line in four plays and looked to be in position for a strike of its own, but a botched handoff on a reverse was fumbled and recovered near midfield by Joey Moore.
Skyline regained possession after a missed field goal and the Spartans were again driving before Browne and his running back could not connect on another handoff, resulting in another fumble.
“It's unfortunate that we had all those turnovers,” Skyline coach Mat Taylor said. “But Bellevue helped create those turnovers too and you've got to give them an immense amount of credit.”
Nic Sblendorio made sure that miscue didn’t doom the Spartans when he intercepted a third down pass from Hasty.
But two plays later the Wolverines took control for good when Sean Constantine stepped in front of another Browne pass and took it 45 yards for a score and what would be the game's final points.
“I just tried to read it the best I could,” Constantine said. “He [Constantine] made a great play and nobody was going to keep him down; he was going to score,” Taylor added.
The pick-six would have been a dagger to most other teamss, but the Spartans, ranked at the top of class 4A, continued to battle as Browne moved them to the Bellevue one yard line in nine plays, including seven straight completions.
Jake Eldrenkamp dropped Skyline running back Damian Greene in the backfield on first down and Browne’s next attempt fell incomplete before another completion to Sblendorio got the ball back to the one yard line. But on fourth down, Sblendorio was tackled just shy of the goal line and fumbled the ball into the end zone, where it was recovered by the Wolverines and taken out to the two yard line.
“Our defense saved us,” Goncharoff said. “I think the kids’ heart was great.”
Defensive coordinator James Hasty praised his unit’s ability to remain confident in one another and the game plan against the explosive Skyline offense.
“The great thing about it,” Hasty said. “They came out and executed.”
While the Wolverines are certainly pleased with two wins over high-quality opponents to begin the year, Goncharoff stressed they are no where near reaching their potential.
“We’re happy to be 2-0 against two great teams,” Goncharoff said. “But we’re not where we need to be.”
Bellevue will be at home for the first time in 2011 next week when Interlake makes the cross-town journey to Wolverine Way.
Newport fell into a deep hole against visiting Mercer Island and was unable to escape, falling 36-21. The Knights trailed 29-0 at halftime and were victimized by a pair of fumbles that led to Islanders' scores. Newport, which faces Bothell next week, moves to 1-1 on the season.
Sammamish led 15-13 in the second half, but could not hold on as Garfield came back for a 27-22 win at Seattle Memorial Stadium. The loss drops the Totems to 0-2.