Eastside Catholic Erases 28 Point Deficit in 3A Thriller


Friday Dec 4th 2015 3A Boys Football
Tacoma Dome 1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT Final
Eastside Catholic 7 7 14 14 6 48
Bellevue 7 28 7 0 0 42


See game recap below

Eastside Catholic Erases 28 Point Deficit in 3A Thriller
By Steve Dion

This is the game Washington high school football fans wanted to see. This is the game that seemed inevitable. The most dominant high school football program in the state during the 21st century against their neighbor that has gradually built a powerhouse of their own. A fourth straight matchup for the 3A title would match Bellevue who won the first two in ’12 & ‘13 and Eastside Catholic the victor a year ago.

The Crusaders received the opening possession and were forced to punt when the drive stalled deep in their own territory. The punt was mishandled and recovered by Parker Davidson to give the Cru the ball back before they could relinquish it. Two plays later, Chris Lefau burst into the endzone to give Eastside Catholic the first points of the contest. Benaiah Ellington made up for the punt return fumble by picking off EC quarterback Harley Kirsch later in the first. This set up Ercle Terrell for his first of four unanswered touchdowns including one from 54 yards up the gut. Brandon Wellington had seen enough and returned the kickoff 97 yards to cut the Wolverines lead to 14. Despite only having 1:38 to work with in the half, the Wolverines charged down the field once again and Tyson Penn who dropped what would have been a touchdown earlier made a spectacular diving grab to put BHS within striking distance. Wolverine quarterback Justus Rogers was content with feeding the hot hand so he went to Penn once again; this time in the corner of the endzone. Bellevue stampeded into halftime with a commanding 35-14 lead. They were led by Terrell’s 129 first half rushing yards and quartet of scores as part of their 232 to 53 total yards advantage over their counterpart.

A three touchdown deficit to Bellevue is a tall task to overcome. The prospects of a comeback became less of a reality when the lead extended to four touchdowns midway through the third when Christoph Hirota punched it in for the sixth Bellevue score. The Crusaders appeared to be at their breaking point. Harley Kirsch who had thrown a rare pair of interceptions in the game returned to their potent aerial attack immediately by finding Hunter Bryant on a 28 yard toss to the back corner of the endzone. The Cru defense did their part to get the ball back to their playmakers. Kirsch would find Bryant once more before the third quarter closed. Down 14 points with one frame remaining, could Bellevue hang on?

Coach Butch Goncharoff ran the ball 56 times in this game and even as his team’s lead dwindled, he did not stray from his game plan. On a crucial fourth and three, Wellington stopped Omar Dyles from moving the chains. Six plays later, Matt Laris pulled in a four yard toss to bring EC one score away from evening up the score. The Cru could taste it. With the pressure on Bellevue to hold on, their next drive was thwarted when Steve Moran stripped Justus Rogers to which Davidson recovered once again. At this point, Eastside was on a crash course to the endzone to which Wellington was behind the wheel. The senior tailback tied the game up leaving only 1:24 on the clock. Bellevue failed to advance the ball to field goal range in the final seconds and we were headed to overtime!

Bellevue took the first crack in extra time. On second down, Rogers passed to Penn in the endzone and Victor Guevara batted the ball away in a courageous effort. On fourth down, Bellevue lined up for a 39 yard field goal. The ball was mis-hit and all EC need now was a score of any kind. A pitch to Wellington resulted in a dive to the pylon that was one yard short of the game winner. Eastside Catholic hurries to set up into formation. Kirsch takes the snap, hands off to Wellington, initially stopped at the point of attack, but a second effort allowed for just enough room to dive past the plane of the goal line. Crusaders win! The team and coaching staff rush onto the field knowing they just completed one of the premier comebacks in the history of the Gridiron Classic. The trophy stays in the plateau for another year.

Moments after the game, a glowing Coach Thiebahr said, “I’m so happy for our seniors and for our community. I’m just really happy to show what we are; the resilience that our school has and the resilience of our football program. One of these seniors “Coach T” was referring to is Brandon Wellington who scored the game winning touchdown and when asked about his four years with Thielbahr, an emotional Wellington replied, “He’s a great teacher…he has pushed me to that next level. I’m gonna miss him.” After three years as the starting Crusader quarterback in which he collected two state titles, Harley Kirsch remarked, “It’s weird to think it’s all over…I was thinking a couple days ago ‘wow, that’s our last practice’ and now I’m thinking wow, that’s it.”

The Final Score:
Eastside Catholic 48, Bellevue 42

Top Performer

Eastside Catholic
Brandon Wellington- 3 kick returns, 143 yards, 97 yard TD, 2 rushing TDs (11 yards, 1 yard game-winner in OT)

Ercle Terrell- 31 rush, 225 yards, 4 TDs (1, 3, 24, 54)

Eastside Catholic vs. Bellevue
3A Finals Scoring Summary 12.4.15

SCORING SUMMARY – 2015 3A Finals – Tacoma Dome

1st Quarter
08:25 – EASTSIDE (Crusaders 7 – 0)
Chris Lefau 1 yd run (Juan Sacchi kick)

04:55 BELLEVUE (Wolverines 7 – 7)
Ercle Terrell 24 yd run (Thomas Monaghan kick)

2nd Quarter
10:37 BELLEVUE (Wolverines 14 – 7)
Ercle Terrell 1 yd run (Thomas Monaghan kick)

05:09 BELLEVUE (Wolverines 21 – 7)
Ercle Terrell 54 yd run (Thomas Monaghan kick)

01:53 BELLEVUE (Wolverines 28 – 7)
Ercle Terrell 3 yd run (Thomas Monaghan kick)

01:38 EASTSIDE (Wolverines 28 – 14)
Brandon Welling 97 yd kickoff return (Juan Sacchi kick)

00:15 BELLEVUE (Wolverines 35 – 14)
Tyson Penn 4 yd pass from Justus Rogers (Thomas Monaghan kick)

3rd Quarter
06:10 BELLEVUE(Wolverines 42 – 14)
Christoph Hirot 12 yd run (Thomas Monaghan kick)

05:06 EASTSIDE (Wolverines 42 – 21)
Hunter Bryant 28 yd pass from Harley Kirsch (Juan Sacchi kick)

00:46 EASTSIDE (Wolverines 42 – 28)
Hunter Bryant 5 yd pass from Harley Kirsch (Juan Sacchi kick)

4th Quarter
05:49 EASTSIDE (Wolverines 42 – 35)
Matt Laris 4 yd pass from Harley Kirsch (Juan Sacchi kick)

01:24 EASTSIDE (Wolverines 42 – 42)
Brandon Welling 11 yd run (Juan Sacchi kick)

1st OT
12:00 EASTSIDE (Crusaders 48 – 42)
Brandon Welling 1 yd run, 3-25

                               EASTSIDE BELLEVUE
FIRST DOWNS...................       15       17
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............    21--5   58-346
PASSING YDS (NET).............      249       44
Passes Att-Comp-Int...........  32-21-2    5-2-0
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS.....   53-244   63-390
Fumble Returns-Yards..........      0-0      0-0
Punt Returns-Yards............     2-28      2-8
Kickoff Returns-Yards.........    6-146     2-29
Interception Returns-Yards....      0-0      2-0
Punts (Number-Avg)............   4-40.0   4-50.5
Fumbles-Lost..................      1-1      3-2
Penalties-Yards...............     6-37   14-101
Possession Time...............    19:26    28:34
Third-Down Conversions........   4 of 9  4 of 11
Fourth-Down Conversions.......   0 of 1   0 of 1
Red-Zone Scores-Chances.......      5-5      4-4
Sacks By: Number-Yards........      1-7     5-25

2015 State Championship Preview: 4A/3A


2015 State Championship Preview: 4A/3A
4A & 3A
Dick Fain & Steve Dion

With the 2015 Gridiron Classic at the Tacoma Dome coming up this weekend, Dick Fain from Varsity Football Live on Sports Radio 950 KJR and Steve Dion break down the 4A and 3A title games to project what they expect to see at the Woodshed this weekend!

To catch the complete State Tournament Preview with Dick Fain & Steve Dion,
simply click on the PLAY BUTTON below.


Crusaders Jump Out to Big Lead Early, Headed to State Final Again


Friday Nov 27th 2015 3A Boys Football
Tacoma Dome 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Eastside Catholic 34 8 7 0 49
Lakes 7 7 0 7 21

See game recap below


Crusaders Jump Out to Big Lead Early, Headed to State Final Again
By Steve Dion

Eastside Catholic entered Friday with an opportunity to earn its fourth straight 3A championship game berth. To do so, they would have to contend with a surging Lakes team that collected wins over O’Dea, Kamiakin, and Kennewick to make their way to the nearby Tacoma Dome.

Crusader senior Brandon Wellington made his impact felt early in this one as he took the opening kickoff 84 yards to the house. The Lancers were clearly caught off balance in the first quarter as ECHS proceeded to score three more unanswered touchdowns in the first eight minutes of the contest including a pair by Devon Arbis-Jackson and a 81 yard reception from Harley Kirsch to Hunter Bryant. Lakes finally put their foot down and strung together a drive that was capped off with a Christopher Hun score from Jaiave Magalei. Wellington responded on another kickoff return for touchdown, this time from 82 yards.

Lakes regained momentum during the second quarter by cutting the deficit to 34-14 on a Andrew Bostic touchdown. The Lancers then recovered a fumble in Crusader territory and were on the doorstep of making it a two possession game. Ryan Taylor had other plans. The Eastside Catholic sophomore hauled in an interception that set up Wellington’s third score that zapped the Lancer mojo.

The second half did not have a competitive element as the Cru did enough in the first half to cruise to a 49-21 victory. After the game, Wellington stated he hopes to face Wolverines for the fourth straight year, but not “if Bellevue isn’t the best team out there…because if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best.”

The Final Score:
Eastside Catholic 49, Lakes 21

Top Performer

Eastside Catholic
Brandon Wellington: 2 kickoff return TDs (82, 84), 1 receiving TD (12)
Harley Kirsch: 12/14 243 yards 4 TDs

Andrew Bostic 22 rush, 190 yds
Jaiave Magalei 20/30 3 TDs 159yds 12 rush 75 yds

Wolverines Double Up Blanchet in Semis, Championship Game Bound Again


Friday Nov 27th 2015 3A Boys Football
Tacoma Dome 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Bellevue 21 14 14 7 56
Bishop Blanchet 14 7 7 0 28

See game recap below

Wolverines Double Up Blanchet in Semis, Championship Game Bound Again
By Steve Dion

Bellevue has become synonymous with championship football in Washington and their appearance at the Tacoma Dome during semifinal week is par for the course. Bishop Blanchet would look to continue their dream season under Coach Kyle Moore on the heels of a 73-28 blowout over Juanita last week.

The Braves demonstrated how green they were literally and figuratively as the first snap of the game was fumbled and recovered for a Wolverine touchdown. Bellevue struck again two minutes late as Isaiah Ifanse punched it in from two yards out to cap off a four-play, seventy-two yard drive and give BHS an early double digit lead. Needing a big play to spark Blanchet, the ever-reliable O’Shea Trujillo made a big play; a 39 yard fumble recovery for touchdown cutting the lead to a single score. This started a back-and-forth game trading touchdowns as the scoreboard read 35-21 in favor of the Wolverines heading into halftime.

Butch Goncharoff certainly reinforced the need to start halves strong because his team found the goal line early in the third on an Ercle Terrell run who finished with three total touchdowns. Once again, Bishop Blanchet answered the call on a trick play which involved a pass from Trujillo to a wide-open Christian Peter. The Braves finally recovered an onside kick afterwards, but failed to turn the momentum into points. This proved to be a backbreaker for Blanchet because Bellevue put the nail in the coffin to secure a 56-28 win. For the fourth consecutive year, the Bellevue Wolverines will face the Eastside Catholic Crusaders for the 3A state title.

The Final Score:
Bellevue 56, Bishop Blanchet 28

Top Performer

Justus Rogers 9/13, 171 yards, TD, 9 rush, 104 yards
Ercle Terrell 12 rush, 68 yards, 3 TDs

Bishop Blanchet
Clinton Allen Jr. 9 rush, 94 yards, 2 TDs