The echoes of long plays and astronomical offensive numbers still hung in the air from Friday night’s 3A state championship game between Skyline and O’Dea. But on Saturday night, it was an old fashioned slugfest.
Bothell moved the ball well on their first drive, as quarterback Johnny Hekker found open receivers all over the field. The Cougars struck first with a run yard touchdown from running back Patrick Otterbech to make it 7-0 in the opening quarter.
When Lewis & Clark took over on offense, it became the Alex Shaw show. Shaw, who finished with 176 yards on 39 carries, started slow, but started to gash the Bothell defense more and more as the game went along. In the second quarter, it was Shaw who moved the Tigers into the Bothell red zone. After penalties moved Lewis & Clark back, Tiger quarterback Taylor Eglet threw a touchdown strike to wide receiver Alex Gauper to tie the game at seven.
For the first two quarters, the game was without a doubt a defensive struggle, as both teams struggled to move the ball into position to score. As the fourth quarter started, the score was tied at seven, and momentum was still neutral when Otterbech took a short Hekker check down, broke a few tackles, and found paydirt from 53 yards out.
Lewis & Clark did not panic due the late deficit, and capitalized on a great toss and catch from Eglet to Gauper again by riding Shaw into the endzone. On the nine yard touchdown run, Shaw pulled over Cougar defenders, and showed all in attendance that he was not going to leave the Dome without a fight.
“Alex told me when we got here four years ago that he wasn’t leaving without getting that gold ball,” said Eglet after being pried away from his running back after the game.
With the score tied at 14-14, Bothell had their chance to respond to the Tiger touchdown, but an errant Hekker pass was intercepted by Lewis & Clark defender Kyle Sullivan. The Tigers took over with a chance to take the lead late in the game.
As the clock rolled down to one minute left with the Tigers at midfield, the combination of Eglet and Shaw came through again for Lewis & Clark, and this time they had a helping hand from Tiger wide receiver Jordan Hanson. As Eglet scrambled away from pressure, Shaw decleated a Bothell defender chasing Eglet, giving his quarterback enough time to find Hanson behind the Bothell secondary. Fifty one yards later, Hanson gave his team a 21-14 lead.
As Bothell drove down the field to try to tie the game, the Lewis & Clark defense came up huge one more time for the Tigers. Levi Taylor found himself in the way of another Hekker pass, and sealed the deal for Lewis & Clark with an interception.
As the buzzer sounded and the players realized that they were state champs, the emotion became too much for the Tigers. Tears and hugs were seen amidst screams of joy as the players accepted their trophy.
“Ending like it did tonight, that’s just the perfect season,” said Shaw. “It doesn’t matter how many losses you have, when you win that gold ball, it’s perfect.”