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Bellevue pays tribute to Katy, TX | STATE FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK

Bellevue pays tribute to Katy following Friday
Bellevue pays tribute to Katy following Friday's state title win. The Wolverines tossed a player, Sean Coley, high in the air to be caught by his teammates. The act is a longtime pre-game tradition of the Katy Tigers football team.
— image credit: Chad Coleman/Bellevue Reporter

After winning their seventh state title in nine seasons, the Bellevue High School football team wanted to show their respect to a former opponent down south.

So before the trophy presentation began, the Bellevue players all huddled up and one player - senior running back Sean Coley - ran towards the players, who tossed him high in the air.

The routine - a trust exercise- is something the Katy Tigers of Texas, Bellevue's week two opponents, do before each and every game.

"It's a respect thing; we have so much respect for that team," said senior linebacker and tight end Nick Moyer. "We represented them because we like them."

Katy beat Bellevue 35-17 on Sept. 12 in Texas. The Tigers are currently 13-1 and will face New Braunfels in the Texas State 5A semifinals. Katy beat Clear Springs 38-21 last weekend to capture a third straight Region III championship.

Bellevue seniors go out strong

After their loss to Grant of Sacramento in week three, the Wolverines were 1-2, a position that no senior on the roster had ever been in.

"Right after that game, we were down," said lineman Jake Hiller. "But that next day, we just got right back to work and look where it got us."

The team moved on, won 11 games in a row and capped off the seniors capped off their careers with the seventh state title of the decade for the team.

"Those losses made us stronger and I wouldn't have it any other way," said senior quarterback Joe Joe Conner. "Those losses to Katy and Grant, I wouldn't take them back. They taught us a lot and made us a better team."

"They didn't quit," added Bellevue coach Butch Goncharoff. "When people doubted them, and things weren't going well, they didn't quit. They hung in there and got it done."

The best defense is a clock killing offense

Bellevue held the ball 34:30 in the game, compared to the 13:30 of the Patriots. Although Bellevue limited the Patriots to just six first half plays on offense, Liberty trailed only 16-7 in the half, thanks to Chandler Jenkins' 78-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

"We couldn't let that happen that quick," said senior defensive lineman Will Fields. "Once they got that, we got our minds right and we just played our game."

Having fun along the way

Bellevue had a 16-14 lead when it got the ball back with just 6:06 remaining in the game. Before the Wolverines offense took the field, Goncharoff had a few words for his players.

"I said 'this is fun, isn't it?'," Goncharoff said. "'This is where we want to be'. It's not about me, never has been. It's about these guys and what they want to do."

Liberty's Valach honored by Seahawks

Liberty's Steve Valach may not have a Class 3A state championship, but he was honored by the Seattle Seahawks organization. On Sunday, Valach was named the Seahawks' High School Coach of the Year and was presented the award during halftime of the Seahawks 20-17 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at Qwest Field.

Valach led the Patriots to a 12-2 finish this year. Both of the team's losses came to Bellevue.

Decade dominance

Bellevue's state title was it's eighth overall and seventh this decade. Besides this season, the Wolverines won titles in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2008. The school also won a Class 4A title in 1983, beating Kennewick 17-14 in the championship game.

"It was a great year and we're moving on," Goncharoff said. "We'll enjoy it and take some time off."

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