By Tyler Hemstreet
With a slew of tacklers in his rearview mirror, all Bellarmine Prep junior running back Isaiah Flynn saw ahead of him was open field.
But his leg suddenly stiffened up with a cramp, limiting him to near hobble.
Flynn kept pushing nevertheless, rattling off another seven yards before making his way out of bounds late in the third quarter, putting the final touches on another stellar rushing performance and one more win for the Lions.
The junior led a balanced offensive attack, rushing for 185 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries as the third-ranked Lions knocked off Central Kitsap, 49-17, in Narrows 4A battle on Friday night at home.
“It was so open … I wanted to get that touchdown,” Flynn said with a laugh. “I don’t know why I’ve been cramping these past few games.
I’ve got to get my diet better, drink some more water.”
By the time Flynn left late in the third, the Lions had the game comfortably in hand. But things didn’t start as smoothly as in weeks past. Central Kitsap (2-3, 1-2 Narrows) put up a fight early on.
The Cougars had a chance to take an early commanding lead, but turned the ball over twice in the first quarter on an interception and a lost fumble.
Bellarmine still managed to (5-0, 3-0 Narrows) strike first as quarterback Sefo Liufau hit a wide-open Michael Rector with a 38-yard touchdown pass with 5 minutes, 57 seconds left in the first quarter.
But the Cougars answered on their ensuing drive, as halfback Jordon Bautista broke a 42-yard touchdown run. Central Kitsap then took a 10-7 lead on Weston Soete’s 39-yard field goal with 11:52 left in the second half. Utilizing a steady running game, the Cougars kept the potent Bellarmine offense on the sideline.
“We didn’t have the ball much offensively, so it was tough to get things rolling but when we did, we got it rolling,” Bellarmine coach Tom Larsen said.
The Lions took back the lead on Flynn’s 37-yard touchdown run with 7:52 left in the half. They added another score when Liufau led them 82 yards in eight plays in less than two minutes. Flynn capped off the drive with his second touchdown run of the night, a 7-yarder with 1:13 left in the half.
“Our receivers and quarterback are so good, (the defense) can’t just key on me because they’re going to get beat so bad,” Flynn said.
“They have to play us honest and that opens everything up.”
That was the case in the second half, as Liufau hit a wide-open Rector with 27-yard touchdown pass on the Lions opening drive, capping off a seven-play, 76-yard drive.
Bellarmine got the ball back less than five minutes later and Flynn scored on a 9-yard touchdown run.
“I wish people saw him at practice because there is no difference,” Larsen said of Flynn. “And he realizes that’s what it takes to play on Friday. More of our kids are seeing that and are saying, ‘Yea, I want to be great under the lights.’”
Joe Lovejoy added an 8-yard touchdown run with 1:20 left in the third and another 6-yard scamper with just under seven minutes left. He finished with nine carries for 80 yards.
Liufau was 12-of-21 for 186 yards and two touchdowns, and the University of Washington-bound Rector caught five passes for 103 yards.