A magical season for the Bellevue Wolverines football squad ended just one game shy of the Class 3A state championship game.
The O’Dea Fighting Irish defeated Bellevue 34-33 in double overtime in a showdown for the ages on Nov. 25 at Pop Keeney Stadium in Bothell. The Wolverines finished the 2017 season with an overall record of 11-2.
With 5:45 left in regulation, Bellevue junior quarterback Joey Echigoshima scored on a 3-yard touchdown run, giving the Wolverines a 20-17 lead. O’Dea tied the game at 20-20 with just four seconds left in the fourth quarter when kicker Stephen Powell connected on a 22-yard field goal attempt to force overtime.
In the first overtime session, Bellevue running back Isaiah Ifanse scored on a 5-yard touchdown run, propelling the Wolverines to a 27-20 lead. O’Dea responded when quarterback Emonte Scott scored on a 1-yard touchdown run, tying the game at 27-27 to force a second overtime. In double overtime, O’Dea got the ball first and took a 34-27 lead on a 2-yard touchdown run by Jamyn Patu. Patu had 17 of his team’s 25 yards on the drive.
On Bellevue’s offensive possession in the second overtime, Ifanse scored on a 7-yard touchdown run, cutting O’Dea’s lead to 34-33. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, kicker Jed Michael’s extra point attempt sailed wide right and O’Dea held on for a dramatic 34-33 victory.
Bellevue head coach Mark Landes, who is in his second season leading the program, remained upbeat following the game despite the heartbreaking defeat.
“I’m super proud of them. We worked so hard and they’ve done it all year. It was a tough loss. They just brought it every day and were a fun team to coach. It was wonderful (season),” Landes said. “Words are tough right now.”
Echigoshima said his team gave it everything they had against O’Dea.
“It is just what is instilled into us since we were little kids. We’ve all been playing together since we were little. It is nothing new to play like that, going hard on every down with your brothers. There is nothing like it,” Echigoshima said of his teammates. “The coaches told us to just keep our heads up. There is nothing to be ashamed about. We played so hard. It is just unfortunate the outcome wasn’t what we wanted. We are going to keep this feeling inside of us for the guys returning next year and go from there.”
Ifanse, who was the unquestioned centerpiece of the Wolverines’ offense throughout the entire 2017 season, was emotional following the final game of his high school career.
“We gave it all we got. I felt like we had a good chance (to win). We prepared really hard and gave it all we got. This was the best four years of my life. I wish we had another game,” Ifanse said.