The unsung heroes on the offensive line propelled the Bellevue Wolverines to a victory in their Class 3A first round state playoff game against the Snohomish Panthers.
Bellevue scored nine rushing touchdowns behind its powerful offensive line, en route to a convincing 66-33 win against Snohomish on Nov. 9 at Bellevue Memorial Stadium. The Wolverines, who improved their overall record to 11-0, will host the Yelm Tornados in the Class 3A state quarterfinals at 1 p.m. on Nov. 17 at Bellevue Memorial Stadium.
Wolverines senior running back Drew Fowler, who had a 73-yard touchdown run and a 36-yard touchdown scamper in the win, credited his blockers for making his job easy.
“I told them when I came to the sideline that I owe them a steak dinner after tonight,” Fowler said with a smile. “They killed it. The guys stepped up. It was awesome. Those (holes) are so fun to run through. I look good for it but obviously they were the ones who did everything.”
Bellevue junior running back Alex Reid, who also had two rushing touchdowns in the triumph, agreed wholeheartedly with Fowler’s assessment.
“We have the best line out there and they just practice so much. We knew we had it down and we knew it was going to be there,” Reid said of the large running lanes created by the hosses up front.
Bellevue head coach Michael Kneip was jovial following the win.
“We look good finally on offense. That was a good team. We had a bunch of guys get a bunch of carries, which is what it is all about,” Kneip said.
Sophomore Cade Jochums had two rushing touchdowns in the second half against the Panthers. Dan Marino, Decker Mecham and Joby Schneider each had one rushing touchdown as well.
Despite the lopsided score after four quarters of play, Snohomish shocked Bellevue on their very first offensive play from scrimmage. Snohomish quarterback Tayte Conover connected with running back Tyler Massena on a 69-yard touchdown pass, giving the Panthers a 7-0 lead with 11:42 left in the first quarter.
The setback didn’t rattle the Wolverines.
“We were confident the whole time. We knew we could adjust and fight back and be right back in the game,” Reid said.
Bellevue senior cornerback Jalen Love knew it was a matter of time before his squad got on track.
“We knew they were going to fight for four quarters. We just had to buckle down and get stops. That is what we did,” Love said.
The Wolverines are already amped for their upcoming quarterfinal matchup against the Tornados.
“We have never played Yelm. When you are playing a team for the first time, it is always tough,” Kneip said. “We are battled tested. We haven’t steamrolled everyone and we’ve had a lot of adversity. It is good that we had those tough battles against Lake Washington, Liberty, Camas, Central Valley and Garfield. We have a bunch of tough kids and we’re going to see what happens.”