Gridiron Classic | 3A Championship: Bellevue not detoured, beats Union 35-6
Bellevue coach Butch Goncharoff grabbed his sixth Class 3A championship trophy with both hands and, with his team crowded around him, he...
Seattle Times staff reporter
TACOMA — Bellevue coach Butch Goncharoff grabbed his sixth Class 3A championship trophy with both hands and, with his team crowded around him, he lifted it into the air.
"Taylor!" he screamed. "Where's Taylor?"
Senior Taylor Anderson made his way through the mob of players, and he took the trophy from Goncharoff, and before he knew it, his teammates had lifted all 6 feet, 4 inches of him on their shoulders as they chanted his name.
Holding the trophy in his right hand, Anderson pointed to the sky with his left.
This season began for this Bellevue team this summer, when they decided to devote this season to Anderson's late brother, Chase Barron Anderson. It ended Saturday evening, when the Wolverines beat Union of Vancouver 35-6 for the Class 3A state high-school football championship.
"It was inexplicable," Anderson said. "It was like a dream come true."
Bellevue won its record seventh state championship and its sixth under Goncharoff, who improved his record to 101-8 in nine seasons.
But this was no ordinary Bellevue championship season.
Bellevue might have stayed No. 1 in Class 3A from wire to wire, but the Wolverines not only overcame the death of Chase Anderson, a 2007 graduate and a friend of many of current Bellevue players. They overcame one of the state's most difficult schedules, five weeks without top rusher Peter Nguyen and the team's bus accident on Interstate 5 eight days before they won the state championship.
Still, Bellevue dominated. Only one opponent came within a touchdown of the Wolverines all season, and they won their five postseason games by an average of 29 points.
"This group may not be the most talented group I've ever had, but they've competed as well or better than any team I've ever had," Goncharoff said. "That's for sure."
Monday night, the Wolverines were bruised and beaten up as they beat Capital of Olympia in their rescheduled semifinal game. Saturday, Bellevue returned to playing like the team that dominated KingCo 3A.
Against Union, a second-year school, the Wolverines ran for 448 yards, 17 short of the Class 3A record for a title game. Bellevue's wing-T offense broke free for 312 rushing yards in the first half.
"We went out the right way," said Tommy Castle, the Bellevue quarterback. "Senior year? This is unreal."
Union discovered it's one thing to watch Bellevue on film, or even see the Wolverines from the stands. It's another to play the Wolverines in person.
"There is no way to replicate the speed with which they do it," said Union coach Cale Piland. "Bellevue runs it about as good as I think it can be run. History kind of speaks for itself there."
Bellevue scored on each of its first four drives, rolling up 293 yards in the first 21 minutes. Eric Nelson scored first from 3 yards. Then Nguyen broke through the middle for 89 yards, shaking a safety at the 22 and running alone into the end zone.
"I was wondering where everyone was at," he joked.
By the time David Nguyen, Peter's younger brother, ran for a 41-yard TD with 3:19 left in the first half, Bellevue led 28-0. That forced Union to try to throw, and Bellevue had three second-half interceptions.
Anderson had two of those interceptions and a 34-yard reception in his best game in four years at Bellevue. Before every play, Bellevue's defense looked up and said "CBA" — his brother's initials.
"Someone's looking out for us, that's for sure," Goncharoff said.
Bellevue — Peter Nguyen 89 run (Hubert kick)
Bellevue — Freddie Levine 27 run (Hubert kick)
Bellevue — David Nguyen 41 run (Hubert kick)
Bellevue — Tommy Castle 15 run (Hubert kick)
Union — Nathaniel Penaranda 6 run (kick failed)
|Time of Possession||23:23||24:37|
Passing — Bellevue, T. Castle 2-2-36-0. Union, B. Weller 10-17-123-4.
Receiving — Bellevue, Atofau 1-4, Taylor Anderson 1-34. Union, Mitch Saylor 7-106, Penaranda 2-11, Coad 1-6.
|Unbeatable in title games|
|Bellevue has never lost a state-championship football game. The Wolverines' seven title teams, with season records and scores in the title games:|
|2008||Butch Goncharoff||3A||14-0||Beat Union, 35-6|
|2006||Butch Goncharoff||3A||14-0||Beat Kennedy, 21-14, OT|
|2004||Butch Goncharoff||3A||13-0||Beat Ferndale, 31-28|
|2003||Butch Goncharoff||3A||13-1||Beat O'Dea, 21-7|
|2002||Butch Goncharoff||3A||12-1||Beat Lynden, 28-10|
|2001||Butch Goncharoff||3A||13-0||Beat Lynden, 42-15|
|1983||Dwaine Hatch||4A||12-2||Beat Kennewick, 17-14|