The Lewis and Clark players slouched into the locker room, and they each knew it. That was a pathetic first half. Then coach Tom Yearout really laid into them, the kind of fire-and-brimstone speech a coach doesn’t use unless he really has to.
If you’re looking for a moment that turned Lewis & Clark into the Class 4A football champion, this it it: halftime, Oct. 16, Albi Stadium, against Gonzaga Prep. The Tigers didn’t come back to with the game, but they left that locker room with a completely different mentality, one that carried them to this victory just as much as their big running back, Alex Shaw.
“It’s been a phenomenal change,” Shaw said. “The first half we played against G-Prep was probably the worst half of football I’ve played in my life. Hands down. He just told us the facts and told us we needed to play LC football.”
Said Yearout: “It was one of the only times I’ve not seem them play hard. Since that half, they’ve played really hard. They’ve played with great passion. I’ve heard a lot, and rightfully so, about how hard Bothell plays, and we played just as hard.”
The Gonzaga Prep game was LC’s last of the regular season (the Tigers didn’t play a week 9 game). From that point on, LC won five consecutive postseason games, heading to Western Washington for the final three of them.
The bus trip became routine. The let the kids sleep for the first few hours, and they’d eat in Federal Way and showed in Tacoma, trying to time each as if it were a game in Spokane. Then it was off to the Dome.
“We tried to have a normal bus ride like we were going to Albi,” Yearout said.
Shaw was a beast in this game. When he ran for only 1 total yard on the first drive, it looked a bit like Bothell’s game against Gig Harbor, another bigger team that Bothell beat 35-0. But beginning with the next drive, he just starting plowing over the Cougars. He finished with 176 yards and set a 4A championship record with 37 carries.
For two consecutive years, the Class 4A champ is a team that few predicted. And for the second consecutive year, Bothell was the short end.
In last year’s game, a fumble on a punt return set up Oak Harbor’s victory. This time, an interception gave Lewis & Clark one last possession.
“You know we’re going to overtime,” another reporter said. But only seconds after he said that, LC’s Taylor Eglet threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Hanson with 64 seconds left.
It was an incredible weekend of football. Just look at the 3A and 4A games. In the 3A game, the winning score came with 1 minute, 44 seconds left. In the 4A, it didn’t come until there was a minute and four seconds left. It doesn’t get much better than that.
On Tuesday, I’ll close out the football season by taking at look at what teams could be back at the Dome next year.
Here’s a quick note about the Renton basketball team, which in back-to-back days beat a pair of ranked Class 4A teams, No. 9 Gig Harbor and No. 7 Kentwood. We’ll have our next rankings a week from Tuesday, and I guarantee we’ll have some shake-ups.
1. Alex Shaw, Lewis & Clark, football. Ran for 176 yards and a touchdown in LC’s upset victory (The Tigers beat the No. 1 team that was undefeated — yes it was an upset).
2. Josh Smith, Kentwood, basketball. The Conks lost to Renton, but Smith — a 6-foot-9, 305-pounds sophomore — still had 30 points and 15 rebounds.
3. Kevin Baffney, DeSales, football. Passed for 247 yards and three touchdowns and added a TD run in 30-0 victory against Toutle Lake in the 2B championship.
4. Austin Alfred, Royal, football. Passed for 229 yards and a touchdown and ran for 86 yards and two TDs in Royal’s 28-16 win against Connell in the 1A championship.
5. Marcisa McMillan, Lindbergh, girls basketball. Scored 17 points and pulled down 16 rebounds in Lindbergh’s 48-40 victory against Auburn Mountainview.