Leading up to the Class 4A football state play-in contest against Graham-Kapowsin, Bellarmine Prep’s coaching staff spent hours studying the Eagles’ game film.
G-K, it appeared, often employed single-coverage on defense. With a trio of talented receivers, including University of Washington-bound Michael Rector, and a quarterback with a big arm, Bellarmine Prep coach Tom Larsen said the staff came up with an offensive approach.
“Let’s attack,” Larsen said.
Sefo Liufau fired three long touchdowns to Rector, leading top-ranked Bellarmine Prep to a 37-19 win against the Eagles Friday night at Mount Tahoma Stadium.
The Lions (10-0) will host Edmonds-Woodway (6-4), a 29-19 winner over South Kitsap, in the first round of the state playoffs next week. G-K ends its season with a 5-5 record.
The Eagles struck first, going 96 yards on 14 plays on its first possession. Quarterback Drew Austin capped the drive with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Conner McLeod on fourth-and-goal.
The Lions countered with Liufau finding Rector for a 59-yard pass to the 1-yard line. Liufau snuck into the end zone on the next play, giving Bellarmine Prep a 7-6 lead and it never trailed again.
Liufau completed 13 of 22 passes for 293 yards. Rector totaled five receptions for 185 yards and had touchdown catches of 53, 34 and 31 yards. Rector credited teammates and coaches for his big game.
“Excellent coaches, excellent quarterback, excellent line,” Rector said. “They were able to give me space to make plays.”
G-K had no trouble moving the ball against Bellarmine Prep – it piled up 28- yards of offense before halftime. But four first-half turnovers, including a fumble inside Bellarmine Prep’s 1-yard line and another at the Lions’ 11, stymied G-K.
“That was a dog gone good offensive team,” Larsen said. “I’m glad this game is behind us.”
G-K cut the margin to 10 points, 23-13, early in the third quarter. Bellarmine Prep answered with touchdowns on its next two possessions – Rector hauled in a 31-yard touchdown pass and sophomore tailback Lou Millie scored on a 5-yard run – to build a 37-13 lead with five minutes left in the game.
Making his first start at tailback, Millie gained 130 yards on 23 carries.
With one playoff game out of the way, the Lions are hungry for more.
“We don’t want this to end,” Rector said, “We want to keep rolling.”