Top-ranked Bellevue holds off No. 4 Juanita, 21-14
A 91-yard touchdown run by quarterback Kendrick Van Ackeren helped Bellevue take an early lead, and the Wolverines held on to beat Juanita.
Seattle Times staff reporter
KIRKLAND — As Kendrick Van Ackeren worked his way around the corner, he looked to be trapped in a sea of blue jerseys.
Bellevue's quarterback spun inside and there seemed to be no escape from Juanita's defense.
Then he broke the other way and, to his surprise, found nothing but green turf. With one play — the first play — Van Ackeren made a statement. He sprinted for a 91-yard touchdown that led the Wolverines to a 21-14 victory over the Rebels Friday night.
"Honestly, I think that play was lucky," Van Ackeren said. "I stopped, looked up field and all I saw were giant people in blue. I couldn't run it up there, so I stopped, gave a little spin, turned around and there was more blue. I bubbled around them and, when I saw open field, I just went."
It certainly wasn't how the play was drawn up, but against the upset-minded Rebels, ranked No. 4 in the state, it was an important early statement.
The top-ranked Wolverines (5-1, 4-0 KingCo 3A/2A) then capitalized on a muffed punt that led to Van Ackeren's 35-yard touchdown pass to Joey Moore.
Bellevue had the momentum, but the Rebels rallied. With less than a minute to play in the half, Juanita (5-1, 3-1) scored on a 20-yard pass from Derek Kaufman to Jarett Finau. The Rebels then tied it on their first drive of the third quarter.
On the ensuing drive, it looked like Van Ackeren had sprinted for a 55-yard touchdown run. However, it was called back due to an inadvertent whistle. A penalty was tacked on and the Wolverines had to regroup.
"Guys, we're good, we're going to score anyway," Van Ackeren told his teammates in the huddle. "Just keep pushing, go hard every play and we'll be fine."
They did, finishing off a drive that took up more than half of the third quarter and almost five minutes of the fourth.
"They're tough," Bellevue coach Butch Goncharoff said of Juanita. "We knew we could do some things. We just decided the kids wanted to grind it out."
Latrelle Dukes, who capped Bellevue's final TD drive with a 4-yard run, picked up a lot of the carries on that march while filling in for Joey Mangialardi, who suffered a concussion in the second quarter.
"We play as a team," said Dukes, who rushed for 92 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. "When one goes down, the next person needs to come in and just keep up that tempo."
Van Ackeren and Tyler Hasty ended any chance of a Juanita comeback, picking off passes to end both of the Rebels' fourth-quarter drives.
"Give all the credit to Bellevue," Juanita coach Shaun Tarantola said. "They did a great job of staying patient and being able to grind it down the field."
Mason Kelley: 206-464-8277 or email@example.com