It’s virtually impossible to obtain perfection on the football field, but Bellarmine Prep flirted with flawlessness in a first-round, Class 4A state playoff game against Edmonds-Woodway Saturday at Mount Tahoma Stadium.
The top-ranked, unbeaten Lions scored on six of seven possessions through the opening two and a half quarters and committed just one turnover and one penalty en route to a 42-7 drubbing of the Warriors.
Their tidy performance, which earned them a quarterfinals matchup against Skyview next week in Vancouver, came on a rainy and windy afternoon, no less.
“We always tell our kids, when you prepare well, you play well,” Bellarmine coach Tom Larsen said. “We had our best practices all season this week and today you saw the result.
“Now I can tell them,” added Larson with a laugh, ‘I told you so.’”
No Lion was more splendid than junior quarterback Sefo Liufau, who completed 13 of 15 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns before exiting with 9:03 left in the third period following a 15-yard scoring strike to Calvin Chandler that pushed Bellarmine’s lead to 42-0.
Liufau also rushed for 33 yards and two touchdowns.
“Our line gave me plenty of time (to pass), the receivers ran precise routes and everything just fell into place,” said Liufau, whose first pass was dropped. “I don’t think we could have executed our game plan much better.”
Asked how he could be so accurate during the inclement weather, Liufau smiled and said, “You can’t ask for sunshine in Washington in November. The wind was a factor, but I just focused in on my guys and didn’t let it affect me.”
Bellarmine capitalized on favorable field position in the first period, driving 37 yards in six plays the first time it had the ball and marching 46 yards in seven snaps with its next possession for a 14-0 lead. Liufau tallied both touchdowns on runs of 10 and 1 yards.
The Lions committed their one notable blunder early in the second period when junior running back Isaiah Flynn lost a fumble on the Edmonds-Woodway 1-yard line. But Bellarmine’s Jacob Salazar got the ball right back on a fumble recovery, and Flynn atoned for his mistake with a 2-yard touchdown run and a 21-0 Lions advantage.
Liufau hit standout wide receiver Michael Rector on a precisely-placed, 45-yard touchdown pass on Bellarmine’s next possession. Sophomore Lou Millie’s 12-yard charge to the goal line with one minute left in the half gave the Lions a 35-0 lead at the break.
While the Lions were efficient on offense, they were thoroughly dominant on defense. Edmonds-Woodway totaled just 32 yards of offense and no first downs in the first half and finished with the game with only 70 yards rushing and 9 yards passing.
“It’s the playoffs _ it’s time to lay your body on the line,” said Bellarmine inside linebacker Joe Lovejoy, who returned to the lineup after missing the previous game with a knee injury. “We’ve got a lot of fast, physical and hard-nosed guys who want to be around the football.”