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Bellevue brothers finish with another title, lifetime of memories | Prep football news
Dominant offensive line paves the way again
While quarterback Tim Haehl and a host of running backs stole the show offensively, it was once again Bellevue's dominant offensive line that controlled the game and kept the Crusaders from gaining any momentum on defense.
Led by standout seniors Morgan Richey and Marcus Griffin, Bellevue rushed for 290 yards (nearly seven per carry) and five scores as Haehl, Sam Richmond and Budda Baker all found the end zone on the ground.
"Bellevue is known for having a great offensive line, so we have to keep that tradition alive," Griffin said. "They hold us to a high standard in practice and we do what we can to surpass it in the game."
Richey said he knew throughout the season this group was special, and had his belief once again reaffirmed in the Wolverines' home away from home inside the Tacoma Dome. Even despite the loss of another starter in Henry Roberts, who suffered an apparent arm injury and left the sidelines during the game, Bellevue owned the line of scrimmage throughout.
"Last year left a really sour taste in our mouths, because we thought we got beat up front," Richey said of last year's title game against the Crusaders. "We knew we had to get it done."
Richmond brothers finish in style
Bellevue's sixth straight 3A state title had special meaning for a group of seniors who were unbeaten in three years on the varsity squad, and finished their prep careers with nothing but state championships by the program.
But for senior running back Max Richmond and brother Sam, a junior, it meant the end of their many years together in the backfield.
"We've been playing together since third grade," Sam said. "It was really special. I've always looked up to him."
The younger Richmond brother ended the night with a pair of touchdowns on eight carries and also caught three passes for 18 yards, while Max chipped in with five rushes for 26 yards in his final prep game.
"This was my last time ever being in the backfield with him and I liked seeing how he played," Max said. "He has been working hard and it is great to watch."
Senior Budda Baker had the attention of the Crusaders' defense for much of the night, allowing both Richmond brothers more room to operate. Baker said the duo was once again up to the task.
"They were pumping their legs, not juking around," Baker said. "They are just fighters."
As for what Max expects to see from little brother when he returns to Wolverine Way next season, there was no doubt.
"I expect to see him in the end zone," he said. "A lot."
Baker finds ways to impact
Baker’s final stat line, 18 carries for 101 yards and a score, is somewhat deceiving since the touchdown and more than 40 yards came late in the fourth quarter and with the outcome decided.
But his impact on the game simply cannot be overstated.
Rather than kicking the ball deep and risking a long return or score, the Crusaders kicked short to avoid giving up an explosive play. While only one of the Wolverines first half drives began outside their own 30-yard line, it was the one that made the score 21-7 and turned the tide for good.
Baker also had an impact in the punt game, despite EC’s best attempts to minimize him, taking a punt 28 yards to setup the final Bellevue touchdown of the first half.
Defensively, he added four tackles to help keep Kirsch and his host of playmakers under wraps.