BELLEVUE – Virtually unstoppable, the Bellevue Wolverines scored on eight of their 11 total possessions Friday night.
That efficiency provided some margin for error when visiting Lincoln of Tacoma made a third-quarter run at the Wolverines before third-ranked Bellevue drew away again in a 56-35 non-league victory over the No. 10 Abes at Bellevue Memorial Stadium.
“It just gives our guys confidence,” Bellevue coach Michael Kneip said. “They’re a well-coached team. They’re physical.”
Here are four observations from the Bellevue-Lincoln game:
IS IT REALLY ADVERSITY?
Bellevue actually trailed in this one – for all of 1 minute, 32 seconds.
That’s how long it took the Wolverines to respond to visiting Lincoln’s game-opening scoring drive. After Lincoln went 80 yards on 14 plays, capped by the first of two touchdown connections by quarterback Gabarri Johnson to Jayden Wayne, Bellevue took just four plays and that 1:32 to tie the game at 7-7.
The Wolverines then stopped the Abes on their next possession, took over at their own 13 after a good punt, and three plays later took the lead for good on Blake Teets scoring run of 46 yards.
“Like Chase (Taylor) said in his last interview, we have nine starters,” Bellevue running back Ishaan Daniels said. “Every running back can come step up to the challenge and just fight through adversity every day.”
BELLEVUE GOT ‘BACKS’
Daniels wasn’t kidding.
William Wang ran the ball three times for 48 yards on Bellevue’s first possession. But he suffered an injury and didn’t return.
Taylor came out of the locker room after halftime without his pads on. He pulled a hamstring in the first half. The Wolverines just went to their next men up as Bellevue ran the ball 45 times for 460 yards and six touchdowns against Lincoln.
“It’s kind of fun to see the depth of running back we have, right,” Kneip said. “We’ve got four, five guys that can go. (Carson) Rubin’s got that big run. (Landon) Johnson runs well. So, it’s fun.”
Nine different Bellevue running backs gained yards against the Abes.
IN THE AIR TONIGHT
More astonishingly, two pass catchers added yards to the offense. And, both scored touchdowns for Bellevue.
In fact, the Wolverines threw the ball just those two times all game. Both came in the second half.
Bellevue finished its opening drive of the second half with a 32-yard touchdown strike from quarterback Cameron Sleeper to tight end Jasper Svenson. After Lincoln scored twice to get within eight, 35-27, Lucas Razore connected with Hogan Hansen for an 11-yard scoring pass.
“They’re going to give that to us, we’ll throw it,” Kneip said. “It’s good to complete that. It’s fun. It’s about our kids having fun tonight. Especially because it’s the tight ends. Hogan and Jasper, they block a lot and it’s kind of fun to see them get rewarded by catching passes.”
The 43 passing yards gave Bellevue 503 yards of total offense.
TOP ABE IS IN TOP TIER
The Abes started the game with a 14-play drive to take the lead. They ran the ball nine times and threw it five.
“I feel like we can be super balanced,” Lincoln coach Masaki Matsumoto said. “We have a 1-2 punch (with running backs Navarre Dixon and Majesty Irving), and Gabbari can run it. Then we have the wide receivers to throw it down the field. So we can be a balanced team.”
Once Lincoln fell behind, the comeback fell to Johnson. The Lincoln junior responded by completing 24 of 39 passes for 353 yards and four touchdowns, two each to Wayne and Khaleel Robinson.
“Probably the best quarterback we’ve played in a long time,” Kneip said. “You want to play the best teams early on. They’re really physical, and you get to play the top player in the country, the top quarterback, arguably, in the country. That should make us better.”