By Bob Kirkpatrick
It was a game that players, fans and coaches will never forget as Bothell scored 35 unanswered second half points to pull out a 49-35 win over the Glacier Peak Grizzlies at Snohomish High School Friday night, Nov. 12.
The win advances the Cougars to a quarterfinal game with Graham-Kapowsin on Nov. 19.
“It was a fun one—we were up 7-0 early and things were looking good—then all of a sudden, we’re down 28-14 at the half,” coach Tom Bainter said. “But when you believe in each other—trust each other and yourself, fun things can happen and I think our kids learned that last night.”
Bothell’s lead came on the strength of a 62-yard catch and run by Marcus Heffernan with five minutes left in the first quarter. The score held up until the Grizzlies quarterback River Lien connected up with Jadon Claps to even it 7-all 53 seconds into the second quarter.
The Cougars answered on a 2-yard TD run by Edwin Zamorano (PAT) with just over nine minutes left in the first half to go back up top, 14–7.
But it was all Glacier Peak after that as the Grizzlies reeled of 21-straight to take a 28-14 lead at intermission.
“We told the kids at the half all we need to do is drive down the field and score and we’ll be right back in it,” Bainter said. “Then we fumble on our second play, and they go right down the field and score to make it 35–14.”
Trailing by three touchdowns with nine minutes left in the third quarter, Bainter altered his game plan.
“We decided after that to go with a different personnel group and throw the ball and had a lot of success,” Bainter said, “and our defense finally figured out a way to stop 15 (running back Trey Leckner).”
Bothell narrowed the gap to 35–21 when Logan Lacio connected with Heffernan a second time (PAT) and gave the Cougar faithful hopes of a comeback.
Bothell then capitalized on a Grizzlies mistake with four minutes left in the quarter when Logan found Lance Heaton in the end zone (PAT) to make it 35–28.
“We got a huge break when their punted kneeled to field a low snap at their 5-yard line,” Bainter said. “We scored a couple of plays later—that was a big turning point.”
Bothell tied it 35–all on an 18-yard Lacio dart to Kyree Percival (PAT) with nine minutes left on the game clock.
The Cougars added a Lacio 2-yard rushing TD and a 20-yard touchdown pass from Lacio to Sam Stewart late in the fourth quarter to complete the 49-35 come from behind win.
Bainter said this was the kind of game that should be a big confidence builder for the rest of the postseason play.
“If we had gone out and got an early lead and held on for a 49–35 win, you don’t gain as much as having to overcome a 21-point deficit,” he said. “You learn to play one play at a time with your whole heart—trust in your teammates and that gives you the best opportunity to have a positive outcome.
“We did that and it was fun for the kids to see that—to feel that—to live that. The locker room was fun after that.”
Having won 200-plus games over his career, coach Bainter has seen a lot, but not many games like this one. He did, however, mention one game fairly recently that had a similar outcome.
“In the 2019 KingCo Championship game, we played Eastlake in Bothell and were down 21 in the second quarter,” he said. “We went on to score 35 unanswered and beat them 56–35, I believe.
“Our seniors (on this team) we’re sophomores that year, so I think that helped them to realize these things are possible and that you have to play well and get a couple of breaks, and we did and it was sure fun to come away with the win.”
Next up for Bothell is a quarterfinal-round matchup with Graham-Kapowsin at Art Crate Stadium in Spanaway at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 19.
The Cougars have a couple of players nursing injuries, but Bainter hopes to have them available when the team takes on the Eagles.
“We’ve had a couple of kids play through tough injuries and we were without our starting tailback (Bryce Kooy) tonight, but we’ll see if he can get healthy this week,” Bainter said. “But it’s the next-man-up mentality and no matter who we have in there, our kids will be ready to play.”