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Originally published Saturday, November 23, 2013 at 8:24 PM

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Interceptions doom Bothell in overtime loss to Bellarmine Prep | 4A Football

The Cougars missed out on a trip to the state semifinals with a 20-17 overtime loss to the Lions.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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TACOMA – Sam McPherson needed a moment, leaning against the locker room door jam with his arm covering moist eyes.

All season, Bothell High School had leaned heavily on the all-everything junior back. But this time there wasn’t enough McPherson magic to carry the Cougars to victory, and he felt the weight of the 20-17 overtime loss to Bellarmine Prep of Tacoma in a Class 4A quarterfinal football game at Mount Tahoma Stadium.

Bothell’s final two possessions ended in interceptions, both near the end zone, and thus ended the season. McPherson, who rushed for 104 yards and one touchdown — and had what would have been the winning TD called back on a hold — didn’t try to hide his pain.

“It’s just the saddest thing,” he said, emotion clear. “This is the closest I’ve ever been to a team....We’re never going to get to play together again.”

Garrett McKay made sure of that by intercepting a Ross Bowers pass near the 5-yard line in overtime. That came one play after an apparent 12-yard TD run by McPherson was nullified by a holding call.

Bellarmine (10-2) had taken a 20-17 lead on Matthew Philichi’s 37-yard field goal. It was Philichi’s second straight game-winner as he kicked a 20-yarder with less than 10 seconds to play in the 38-35, first-round win over Newport.

“We had some tough breaks,” Bothell coach Tom Bainter said. “We threw picks at the wrong time and we had holding calls on big plays.”

The future is bright for the young Cougars (9-3), who started just three seniors each way, but this game was theirs for the taking.

“It never feels great when you’re coming off the field in a game you felt like you should have won,” Bainter said.

Bowers completed 14 of 28 passes for 216 yards and a TD, but was intercepted four times.

Bellarmine Prep played spoiler for Bothell for the second season in a row and third time over the past four years.

This one was all Bellarmine early, 10-0, but Bothell cut it to 10-7 by halftime on a 10-yard pass from Ross Bowers to Dayzell Wilson and then led 17-10 on Rylyn Gherardini’s 20-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.

Bellarmine, which will play top-ranked Camas in the semifinals, came back to tie it with 7:48 to play as Lou Millie connected on a 5-yard pass to Nick Selden. Bowers drove Bothell to the 12 before being picked off by Drew Griffin.

The Lions then drove from the 26 to the Bothell 18 with 22 seconds to play, but were backed up on two penalties and a big sack by Shawn Munro. Millie turned to his McKay, his favorite target, who made a catch at the 24 and thought he dove out of bounds in time for a field-goal try. But officials ruled him inbounds and time expired.

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