Bellevue Wolverines senior running back Drew Fowler (pictured) scored four rushing touchdowns against the Yelm Tornados in the Class 3A state quarterfinals on Nov. 17 at Bellevue Memorial Stadium. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Ault-Justus

Bellevue Wolverines senior running back Drew Fowler (pictured) scored four rushing touchdowns against the Yelm Tornados in the Class 3A state quarterfinals on Nov. 17 at Bellevue Memorial Stadium. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Ault-Justus

Wolverines advance to Class 3A state semifinals

Bellevue dominates Yelm in the final three quarters.

Things looked dicey for the Bellevue Wolverines football team throughout the duration of the first quarter against the Yelm Tornados.

Yelm scored three touchdowns in the first quarter en route to a 20-0 lead with 36 minutes left in regulation.

The Wolverines didn’t get rattled.

Bellevue outscored Yelm 37-0 in the final three quarters en route to a comeback 37-20 win in the Class 3A state quarterfinals on Nov. 17 at Bellevue Memorial Stadium. The Wolverines improved their overall record to 12-0 with the win. Bellevue left cornerback Jalen Love, who had two passes defensed as well as an interception with 8:41 left in the second quarter, knew it was just a matter of time before his team took control.

“We came out slow and we had to get going. We knew that we could come back and knew they couldn’t go all four quarters with us. We kept them at 20 points (the final three quarters of play) the rest of the game. We just kept battling and kept pounding it on the ground. We knew that we were wearing them down,” Love said.

After falling behind by 20 points, the Wolverines stuck to their game plan of running the football. Bellevue cut Yelm’s lead to 20-7 on Alex Reid’s 2-yard touchdown run with 8:58 left in the second quarter. Wolverines senior Drew Fowler scored on a 7-yard touchdown with 4:39 left in the second quarter, slicing Yelm’s lead to 20-14. Fowler busted loose for a 40-yard touchdown scamper with 1:02 left in second quarter, giving the Wolverines a 21-20 lead.

Bellevue would never trail again.

Everything the Wolverines football program is known for was on display in the third quarter. Bellevue, which received the second half kickoff, put together a memorable drive for the ages. The Wolverines marched 75 yards in 15 plays, chewing up eight minutes, 10 seconds off the clock. The drive, which included 15 running plays, culminated with a Fowler 3-yard touchdown run with 3:50 left in the third quarter, extending Bellevue’s lead to 28-20. By the time the third quarter had ended, the Tornados ran just three offensive plays because of Bellevue’s ball- control offense and stingy defense. The Tornados were shut out after scoring 20 points in the first quarter.

Bellevue senior quarterback/defensive back Joey Echigoshima, who picked off Yelm quarterback Kyle Robinson with 2:07 left in the second quarter, believes playing in close games throughout the 2018 season paid off when they faced the adversity of a 20-point deficit against Yelm.

“We didn’t think anything of it. We have been in these situations before. We just knew we had to come out and play our game. We weren’t worried at all. We knew we weren’t going to lose this game,” Echigoshima said.

Fowler scored on a 3-yard touchdown run with 11 minutes left in regulation, extending Bellevue’s lead to 35-20. Bellevue linebacker Nick Bowar sacked Robinson in the end zone for a safety for the final points of the night with 6:12 left on the clock. The Wolverines will face the Eastside Catholic Crusaders in the Class 3A state semifinals on Nov. 24.

“It will be fun. We know all of those guys, so it will be a good game. We know what to expect from them and we will be ready,” Echigoshima said.

Love said advancing to the Class 3A state championship game has been a goal for his squad since practices kicked off in August.

“We can’t wait. We’re trying to get to the (Tacoma) Dome and they’re just in the way. We are just going to stay focused in practice this week and just go after it,” Love said.

Bellevue first-year head coach Michael Kneip is stoked for the showdown with the Crusaders with a berth in the Class 3A state title game on the line.

“They’re the most talented team maybe in the country. We have one D-1 guy (future Division-1 collegiate football players) and they probably have 20 guys,” Kneip said. “It is going to be a really good test.”


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

Bellevue Wolverines senior quarterback Joey Echigoshima, who has been the starting quarterback for the past two seasons, rumbles for yardage against the Yelm Tornados in the Class 3A state quarterfinals on Nov. 17 at Bellevue Memorial Stadium. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Ault-Justus

Bellevue Wolverines senior quarterback Joey Echigoshima, who has been the starting quarterback for the past two seasons, rumbles for yardage against the Yelm Tornados in the Class 3A state quarterfinals on Nov. 17 at Bellevue Memorial Stadium. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Ault-Justus

More in Sports

Snoqualmie Casino unveiled the first immersive Seahawks-branded table game experience Sept. 18, 2020, in a ribbon cutting dedication with Snoqualmie Tribe Council members and Snoqualmie Casino executives. Courtesy photo
Gambling Commission OKs pacts with tribes for sports betting

Agreements with 15 tribes await approval by the governor and the feds.

t
Corulli runs wild in Newport victory

Newport sophomore Zachary Corulli literally tore up the turf while notching four… Continue reading

t
Bellevue blanks Interlake, 3-0, in girls soccer

Bellevue junior Kendall Serres, left, battles Interlake senior Audrey Doran for the… Continue reading

Mount Si’s Andy Cole tackles Bellevue’s Ishaan Daniels on March 12 after a lengthy run during Bellevue’s first possession of the second half, which resulted in a touchdown. Mount Si won, 23-13. In volleyball action on March 8, Bellevue defeated Newport, 3-0. Pictured for Bellevue (3-0) are Brooke Huard, left, and Kaitlyn Watson. Photos courtesy of Stephanie Ault Justus
Bellevue teams hit the gridiron and volleyball court

Mount Si’s Andy Cole tackles Bellevue’s Ishaan Daniels on March 12 after… Continue reading

Kentwood High football. FILE PHOTO
WIAA Executive Board revises Season 1 sports in response to state guidelines

Practices scheduled to begin Feb. 1 for football, volleyball, soccer and 5 other sports

The Mercer Island boys basketball celebrates their 61-36 victory over Interlake in the 3A KingCo championship game on Feb. 11, 2020, at Sammamish High School. File photo
WIAA pushes back return to play for prep sports

Season 2 now begins Feb. 1 and seasons have been shortened to seven weeks each.

In this file photo from March 2020, the Federal Way High School boys basketball team reacts in the final minutes of the state quarterfinals game against Mt. Si High School. File photo
New guidelines released for return of prep sports in WA

The new plan places counties and sports in three-tier systems. No signs of a quicker return to play.

Bellevue alum becomes highest-paid safety in NFL history
Bellevue alum becomes highest-paid safety in NFL history

Budda Baker, 24, was winning at Bellevue High School before he was with the Arizona Cardinals.

Doctor IDs safety measures for youth team sports practices
Doctor IDs safety measures for youth team sports practices

Before practice begins, parents must understand COVID-19 protective protocols

Pictured: A Mercer Island High School swimmer competes in fall 2019. Washington Interscholastic Activities Association recently announced the girls swim and dive season will be moved to “Season 3,” which begins March 1. File photo
WIAA gives schools option to delay start of prep sports until December

An updated plan moves girls swimming to Season 3 and makes fall cross country an alternate season.

The Todd Beamer Titans football team in Federal Way during a 2019 summer practice. File photo
WIAA modifies prep sports calendar; football moved to spring

Washington’s high school athletics governing body announced its revised plans for the… Continue reading

WIAA delays start dates for fall sports
WIAA delays start dates for fall sports

Football practices to begin Sept. 5, all other sports planned for Sept. 7.