Bellevue knocks off Trinity in OT, 31-24
Budda Baker's 14-yard touchdown run in overtime gave the Wolverines a 31-24 overtime victory over the Trojans from Euless, Texas, Thursday night at Memorial Stadium.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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Nearly 30 minutes after the game, Bellevue players lingered in small packs or with classmates on the field.
Slowly, in a corner of Memorial Stadium, the Trinity Trojans of Euless, Texas, filtered out of their locker room, having fallen just short of a gritty comeback.
And so, with friends, parents and cheerleaders clamoring for pictures, the moment belonged solely to Bellevue, which held on Thursday night for a 31-24 overtime high-school football victory and added another layer to the team's growing national status.
"That team had a lot of depth," linebacker and UCLA commit Myles Jack said of Trinity. "They brought 100 players up here, and we probably only had 40 that were really suited up. Most of our guys were going back and forth. That just shows that we can fight through it all."
The biggest moments came on defense, with the game on the line at the end of a 24-24 game.
First, after Bellevue went three-and-out late in the fourth quarter, Trinity got the ball back at its 41-yard line with 1:42 left and a chance to win. After the Trojans drove to the Wolverines' 42, Jack lined up in front of a Trinity receiver with every intention of blitzing. He noticed the offensive tackle eying Bellevue's defensive end. A free path unfolded in front of him, and Jack delivered a vicious hit to sack Trinity quarterback Matt Hawkins.
Hawkins got up slowly, took off his helmet and walked back to the sideline after what Jack called the biggest hit of his career.
"That set it all up," linebacker Nathan Derider said. "That got the crowd into it, that got us into it. We knew we were going to score on offense. We knew that. It was just a matter of our defense stopping them."
Bellevue linebacker Sean Constantine officially forced overtime one play after Jack's sack when he dropped running back Kenneth Gonzales for a loss.
And all this came after Wolverines coach Butch Goncharoff nearly went all in: Faced with fourth-and-two from his 29, Goncharoff had a fake punt called before squashing it late.
"The chess match was on for a while," Goncharoff said.
On the third play of overtime, Budda Baker gave Bellevue the lead once again. He took a handoff, cut it up field and slid through the arms of Trinity defenders for a 14-yard touchdown.
Then, on Trinity's first offensive play in overtime, the game ended abruptly when Derider picked off a pass from quarterback Christian Hammack, who had replaced a dizzy Hawkins.
"My defensive coordinator was like, 'They're going to do something tricky and go for a bootleg,' so I just dropped back, was patient and waited," Derider said.
Said Jack, who also had a 66-yard touchdown run: "I almost cried."
Bellevue took control of the game early, scoring a pair of first-quarter touchdowns for a 14-3 lead. Max Richmond punched in the first one on a five-yard run. It came moments after a 30-yard screen pass to Baker pushed the ball deep into Trinity territory.
Running back John Nguyen had the second touchdown — a 1-yard score that followed a 41-yard run by Jack.
But in what would develop into a common theme, the Trojans managed to hang around, finding answers whenever they were needed. Trinity trailed 14-9 at halftime, 21-16 at the end of the third quarter and clawed even late in the fourth.
The Trojans tied it with 4:35 left in the game on a 4-yard touchdown run by Remel Newton and a successful two-point conversion.
"Coach told us that they were going to be fast and get off the line and be aggressive," Constantine said. "And you know what? They really did that. It was impressive. I've never seen a team like that."
Trinity traveled more than 2,000 miles from the comforts of Texas, arriving at Memorial Stadium just a day before the big showdown. The Trojans came for the test Bellevue provided, and they came shouldering the weight of the Texas football tradition.
They did nothing to disappoint that legacy. Each time Bellevue appeared to turn them away for good, the Trojans dug in once again.
"We had the opportunity to really put some distance between us," Goncharoff said, "and we never did."
Until the final play, that is.
Players of the game:
LB/RB Myles Jack: He finished five carries for 118 yards and a touchdown while also delivering a game-changing hit on Trinity quarterback Matt Hawkins.
RB/S Budda Baker: Baker scored Bellevue's touchdown in overtime, and he also consistently put the Wolverines in good field position with his returns.
OL/DL Darien Freeman: He recovered a fumble and held his own against a far bigger Trinity line. After the game, someone kept chest bumping Freeman, and he finally told them to stop because he was sore. That's proof of a hard-working night.
Stat of the night:
3.74. That's the number of yards Trinity averaged per rush. Goncharoff said the Trojans wore his group down — and his players admitted as much afterward — but Bellevue made Trinity grind for every yard on every play.
Bellevue doesn't get much of a break. The Wolverines must travel to Bothell to take on a tough and experienced group.
Jayson Jenks: 206-464-8277 or email@example.com