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High School Sports Blog

The latest news and analysis on high-school sports around the Seattle area

August 28, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Bellevue: Experienced group leads preseason favorite

Look in Thursday’s paper for a preview of the Bellevue-Trinity game at 6 p.m. I’ll be live-blogging updates and observations from Memorial Stadium throughout the night.

Update: KJR (950 AM and 102.9 FM) will carry the Bellevue-Trinity game. It is not on TV.

Two years ago, out of necessity, Bellevue coach Butch Goncharoff deployed 12 sophomores as starters. The general thinking at the high school level is that experience most often leads to success.

But that team did what Bellevue teams always seem to do and won the 3A state title in spite of its youth.

“I think you need to have seniors to go far unless you’re Bellevue,” Mount Si coach Charlie Kinnune said. “They won a state championship with sophomores, and those kids are now seniors.”

Ah, that’s right: Bellevue is now a tested and veteran group once again labeled as a top 25 team nationally and the favorite to win the 3A championship. It’s a group that has played a lot of football in their careers, which could be the Wolverines’ biggest strength.

“I wouldn’t say we’re a team that’s loaded, but for us, we’ve got a lot of returning guys,” Goncharoff said. “For how we run our system, that’s helpful. A lot of our stuff is based on, you don’t have to be the greatest athlete to play it, but you have to be pretty bright and able to change things. This group has been around and has been able to do that.”

Yet this is Bellevue football we’re talking about, and so there is plenty of talent to go around. Myles Jack and Sean Constantine will form the state’s best linebacking duo before heading to rival Pac-12 schools next year.

What Bellevue lacks in size, the Wolverines make up for with skill players and speed. Budda Baker is a dangerous return man. He’s also a valuable piece of Bellevue’s secondary along with the talented Michael Carlson. Lineman Nick Santa is a force, too.

On paper, the Wolverines look like the clear early favorite to win their 10th 3A title in 12 years.

“With high school kids, you just flip a coin,” Goncharoff said. “You never know what you’re going to get.”

Players to watch:

RB/ DB Budda Baker, 5-10, 175: A special teams threat and a key component of Bellevue’s secondary.

WR/DB Reuben Mwehla, 5-10, 190: A speedster and Idaho commit capable of changing games.

LB/TE Sean Constantine, 6-2, 225: A three-year starter committed to Washington.

LB/RB Myles Jack, 6-2, 225: A hybrid linebacker-defensive end committed to play for UCLA and also a weapon at running back.

OL/DL Darien Freeman, 5-11, 290: A returning all-star nose guard who is active up front.

Game to watch:

@ Bothell on Sept. 7. Bellevue’s first game against Trinity is huge. But the Wolverines don’t get a break in week two against Bothell.

Question:

OK, it’s only one game, but the question of the day right now is easy: Can Bellevue’s deceptive offense and speed counter Trinity’s massive size in a week one thriller?

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