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Bellevue hammers Eastside Catholic, wins sixth straight 3A state title | Prep football news

Bellevue players and coaches with the 3A state title trophy, their sixth straight, after Friday
Bellevue players and coaches with the 3A state title trophy, their sixth straight, after Friday's 52-20 win over Eastside Catholic.
— image credit: James Kirkish, The Shuttered Image, For the Reporter

The dominance continues.

Bellevue used three touchdowns from senior Tim Haehl and another stifling effort from its defense to beat Eastside Catholic 52-20, capturing its sixth straight 3A state title in the process.

“You can’t ask for anything better,” the quarterback and defensive back said. “It is great.”

Haehl got things started on the first series, nabbing only the second interception of the year from Eastside Catholic quarterback Harley Kirsch, ripping the ball from an EC receiver in the end zone after the Crusaders moved inside the Bellevue 20-yard line.

He converted a pair of third downs on the ensuing drive, one with his legs and another on a 65-yard touchdown pass to senior Ross Conners that gave the Wolverines a 7-0 lead. A 70-yard dash early in the second quarter made it a two touchdown margin and sent Bellevue on its way to yet another memorable night in the Tacoma Dome.

“He had a huge game,” head coach Butch Goncharoff said of Haehl. “He got it done.”

The Crusaders pulled within a touchdown after an eight play drive that Kirsch capped with a one-yard touchdown run. But a pair of scores on the ground from sophomore running back Sam Richmond, sandwiched around a sack and forced fumble by senior Shane Bowman, made it 28-7 and ended any doubt.

“They are a great team and I just wanted to try my best to make a play,” Bowman said.

The Wolverines continued to make plays in all three phases of the game, finishing with 290 rushing yards, 17 first downs and another state title trophy.

“It’s a great group of kids,” Goncharoff said. “We got it done every game, it was amazing.”

Haehl finished with a performance for the ages, completing all seven of his pass attempts for 91 yards and a score to go with 116 rushing yards on eight carries and another score, and adding two interceptions and the return for a score.

“I got beat on the first series,” he said, noting a 44-yard Kirsch completion the play before his first interception. “Luckily I came back and got the pick.”

Senior Budda Baker finished with 101 yards on the ground and a score, and said postgame another title was the only way he ever envisioned finishing his prep career.

“It’s really crazy,” he said. “I’m definitely happy we got the win.”

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