The underdog, unrated, and unheralded Lakes Lancers gave the vaunted Bellarmine Prep Lions all they wanted Friday night at Harry Lang Stadium on the campus of Clover Park High School in Lakewood. In the end the Lions managed a tough defensive stand, just enough offense, and a 34 yard field goal by Matthew Philichi. Bellarmine sank the hopes of the game and gutty home-standing Lancers by a count of 16-14.
Lakes led for most of the game and built a 14-0 lead with a 21 yard Xzavier Weston run with 3: 20 to go in the third quarter. Bellarmine responded with their first touchdown drive of the evening, taking only 1:15 off the clock in the process. Nathan Goltermann capped the drive with a nine yard run and the 5th ranked team in Washington state high school's largest classification (4A) was on the board at last.
Bellarmine appeared to be about to tie the game midway through the 4th quarter but a botched extra point snap and hold left the ball on the ground and the Lancers with a 14-13 lead.
Caleb Lyons' 73 yard return on the ensuing kickoff gave the Lancers momentum as well as excellent field position at the Bellarmine 22 yard line. But the Lions' defense held and turned the ball over to their offense for the drive that would end it all. A pass interference call that moved Bellarmine from the Lancers' 32 to the 17 yard line put Philichi in position for the game winner. With the Lancers' crowd doing their best 12th Man impression Philichi calmly tucked his kick just inside the left upright with 1:11 on the game clock. The official's upraised arms spelled the demise of Lakes' effort at what would have been the biggest upset in WIAA high school football so far this season. The Bellarmine crowd, with a roar that was as much relief as exultation, bellowed their approval of the Houdini act that they had just witnessed.
Goltermann paced the Lions on the ground, tallying 123 yards on 23 carries. Quarterback Lou Millie was just 6/14 through the air for 95 yards. Senior wide receiver Damon Griffin caught three balls for 71 yards for the Lions.
Lakes struggled to find an air attack with any kind of consistency. Wide receiver turned quarterback Kemonee Jenkins completed just six passes for only 55 yards. Head Coach Dave Miller, long the ringleader of an offense resembling Steve Spurrier's "Fun and Gun" hearkened back to Knute Rockne on this night. The Lancers ran the ball 47 times on the evening, while throwing just nine passes. Lyons paced the Lancers with 99 yards on the ground.
Bellarmine (2-0) hosts Central Kitsap next Friday night at Bellarmine Memorial Field. Lakes hosts Vancouver, Washington's Skyview High next week in an effort to capture their first win of the season. Both games kick at 7:00 p.m. PDT