Considering the number of penalties, mistakes and bad-luck plays to go against Graham-Kapowsin on Friday night, it would have been easy for it to push its winless streak against Bethel to seven games.
“We had chances to give up and be down on ourselves and in the past our kids would have,” Eagles coach Eric Kurle said. “But they played hard and made big plays when they needed to.”
Graham-Kapowsin earned a 35-28 victory against Bethel – its first “Battle of the Valley” win in school history.
The victory also allows the Eagles to retain sole possession of second place in the 4A SPSL South. But to do so, it had to overcome 15 penalties (10 in the second half) and late onside kick that Bethel recovered with a chance to tie with about four and a half minutes left to play.
Bethel cut Graham-Kapowsin’s lead to a touchdown with Connor Reopelle’s 31-yard pass to Blake Schwartz in the end zone with 4:46 left.
Braves kicker Ryan Smolko sent the ensuing kickoff high along the sideline when it bounced at the Eagles’ 23. It appeared it was headed straight to the Bethel sideline for a penalty. Instead, the ball died right there and Jeremiah Vasquez recovered to give the ball back to Bethel with a chance to tie.
Instead of folding like Kurle said had witnessed many times in the past, the Eagles caught a break when Bethel fumbled on a handoff two plays later as Graham-Kapowsin recovered and held on to collect its first victory against Bethel in school history.