One of the staple’s of Bellevue’s success this decade, coach Butch Goncharoff says, is the team’s ability to practice like they play. To show the same intensity in practice that they do in the games.
Early Friday night, the state’s Class 3A No.1 team played like they practiced this week: not well.
The Wolverines racked up penalties and led an injury-depleted Class 2A Interlake just 14-0 at halftime, but scored 28 second-half points to beat the Saints 42-0.
“We had a horrible week of practice,” Goncharoff said after Bellevue improved to 2-1 and 1-0 in KingCo 3A/2A league play. “To be a good team you have to practice like you play. We have got to get better.”
Bellevue turned the ball over on downs after just four plays on their first possession and went three-and-out on their second. After eight plays, Bellevue had -2 yards.
The Wolverines, quarterback Kendrick Van Ackeren said, were still thinking about last week’s heartbreaking 28-21 loss to Skyline during practice this week and that’s what led to the sloppy start. Bellevue didn’t score until sophomore Ari Morales broke loose for a 24-yard touchdown on a sweep with 9:59 remaining in the second quarter. The Wolverines added another score on a 1-yard touchdown dive by Latrelle Dukes with 2:06 remaining in the half. Despite being up 14-0, Bellevue wasn’t happy when they hit the locker room.
“We went in there and we got on them,” Van Ackeren said. “I said we gotta grow up, because we were out there playing like little boys.”
It took precisely two plays for the Wolverines to grow up. Morales took the ball on another sweep to the left side, broke one tackle at the sideline, reversed field and scored on a 56-yard touchdown run.
“It’s got nothing to do with me – I just run,” said Morales, who scored on the same play against Skyline. “It comes down to the o-line and my buddy Kendrick Van Ackeren and Latrelle Dukes faking it perfect every time.”
Bellevue would add three more touchdowns when Van Ackeren hit Evian Richard for a 26-yard touchdown pass and John Nguyen finished up the scoring with two touchdown runs. Morales led all rushers with 80 yards and two touchdowns on just three carries.
Interlake was playing without starting senior quarterback Matt Malos and junior running back Jordan Todd. Sophomore Trevor Lyon started in place of Malos, who injured his hamstring last week against Roosevelt. Lyon finished 8 of 19 for 59 yards passing (with an interception) and also added 30 yards on 11 carries to lead the Saints.
“He was a little nervous, but he can battle like none other,” said Interlake first-year coach Jason Rimkus. I’m so proud of his effort level. He was competing as hard as he could and that’s the mark of where we are trying to go.”
Sophomore Joe Bell 20 yards on 11 carries for the Saints (0-3, 0-1 league) and also accounted for a large chunk of Lyon’s passing yards after he scampered for a 44-yard gain on a short reception.
For Interlake, Rimkus said, it was a big step after a close loss last week and a 70-0 opening defeat against Newport.
“Newport seems like a year ago,” he said. “That team will never come back; you will never see it again.
“They went 10 rounds out of 12 with the top team in our decade,” Rimkus added. “There’s nothing to hang their heads about.”