Cougars scratch out win over Falcons on the gridiron

The Cougars gang tackle the Falcons’ Nick Owens for a loss. Bob Kirkpatrick

By Bob Kirkpatrick

The game between Bothell and Woodinville at Pop Keeney Stadium Friday night, Oct. 15, was all you’d expect it to be between two talented squads that have constantly been at the top of the KingCo standings.

Each time one team scored, the other answered, and after the final whistle had blown, it was the Cougars coming away with a 31-21 win.

“It was a classic battle. Woodinville is well-coached; they are physical and always bring it every game,” coach Tom Bainter said. “We had to do the same thing and our kids brought it too.”

Woodinville got out of the gate early when Theo Grothen hooked up with Bo Graham for a 78-yard score (PAT) to give the Falcons a 7-0 just 38 seconds into the contest.

“That was an exciting play,” Falcons’ Head Coach Wayne Maxwell said. “Bo was able to box out a Bothell defender and outrun the rest for the score.”

Bothell answered two minutes later when quarterback Logan Lacio found Sam Steward for a 33-yard TD (PAT) to tie it 7-7.

Charlie Shulkin spilt the uprights from 22-yards out with 3:30 left in the first quarter to give the Cougars their first lead, 10-7.

Bothell forced Woodinville to put on its next possession. The Cougars drove the ball to the Falcons six-yard-line and were in prime position to punch in another touchdown as the first quarter ended. But back-to-back penalties and a three-yard loss on a quarterback scramble to start the second quarter pushed the pigskin back to the 31.

A pass interference call on the Falcons moved the ball into field goal range, but Adam Duffy blocked Shulkin’s 26-yard attempt and Woodinville took over on the Bothell 25. The Falcons, however, were unable to pick up a first down and had to punt.

Bothell started its next drive on its 44. A 13-yard pitch and catch from Lacio to Stewart moved the ball to the Woodinville 43. Two plays later, Lacio tossed a 24-yard TD pass to Stewart (PAT) to make it 17-7 Cougars with seven minutes left in the first half.

Seemingly unfazed by the 10-point lead, Woodinville struck back with a 25-yard dart from Grothen to Lucas Dahl (PAT) and the Falcons narrowed the gap to 17-14.

The Falcons’ Adam Duffy blocks Charlie Shulkin’s field goal attempt. Bob Kirkpatrick

Bothell returned a pooch kick to its 47 with 2:53 on the clock but could not do much with it and punted the ball back to Woodinville.

The Falcons took over on their 9-yard line and moved the ball to the Bothell 25 with six ticks left on the clock. Woodinville lined up for a field goal attempt, and Bothell called a time out to ice the kicker. The Falcons then lined up and looked to be going for six points and Bothell called a second time out to make substitutions. Grothen barked out a hard count trying to get the Cougars to jump offside and give the Falcons better field position, but Bothell didn’t bite, and Woodinville called a time out and sent its kicking team back in.

Finley Bragg’s 42-yard attempt fell short and the Cougars took a 17-14 score into the locker room.

“We talked with the team about shoring up some of our missed tackles and told the kids we wanted to come out in the third quarter and respond on our first drive to Woodinville’s touchdown just before the half, and we did that,” Bainter said. “And that put us back up by 10-points.”

The score, however, didn’t come easy as Bothell was whistled for five penalties deep inside Falcons territory, which backed the team up to near midfield.

“All of them were great calls by the refs. We were nursing a three-point lead and out of field goal range—facing a third and 38 —and then we throw a 41-yard TD pass (to Kyree Percival),” Bainter said. “It was a great throw from our QB and our receiver came up with a great catch. That was probably the key moment in the game.”

Woodinville was down 24-14 after the score with 5:43 left in the third quarter, but there was no quit in the Falcons as they responded with an 80-yard drive capped off by a 32-yard rushing TD by Ivori Keo (PAT) to get within three points, 24-21.

The Cougars, determined to respond, did so with a minute to go in the quarter when Lacio and Percival hooked up a second time, this one from 12-yards out (PAT) and Bothell increased its lead to 31-21.

The fourth quarter was filled with a series of mishandled snaps and punts, and neither team posted points on the board.

Despite the loss, Maxwell was proud of his teams’ effort.

“Ivory Keo added some tough-earned yards on the ground and ended up rushing for 105 yards,” Maxwell said. “On defense, upfront, Oliver Bragg continues to have a dominating senior season as he totaled nine tackles—two of them for a loss. Linebackers Gavin Thoreson and Ryan Bowles added nice games playing behind the disruption of Oliver.”

The win moves the Cougars to 7-0 and 3-0 in conference play. Up next for Bothell is a non-conference game at Bishop Blanchet to finish out regular season play.

“Win, lose or draw, we’ll play Eastlake next week for the KingCo Championship,” Bainter said.

The game is scheduled to be played in Sammamish at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 28. But coach Bainter said it might be moved to Friday, Oct. 29. Look for an update on www.nshorenews.com.

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