The unabated joy will still present. Right when the final horn sounded, Bellevue High football players took off their helmets and sprinted around the turf in the Tacoma Dome as if they were being chased by zombies.
The No. 1 Wolverines won the Class 3A state football title for a fifth consecutive season – this time 35-3 over No. 2 Eastside Catholic in a matchup of undefeated teams.
* For a thorough account of the game, here is contributing writer T.J. Cotterill‘s story in today’s News Tribune.
* Up north, the Seattle Times’ Jayson Jenks captured some of coach Butch Goncharoff’s pointed comments after he won his 10th state title as a coach.
That is what I wanted to get into today – some of what Goncharoff said, and didn’t say.
He told his players they made up not only the top program in Washington (wholeheartedly agree), they were the best in the country (debatable but very much in the conversation).
And never one to duck a challenge – after all, Bellevue did end De La Salle High’s (Calif.) 151-game winning streak back in 2004 – one question does come to mind: Should high school have a national championship game?
Look, no precedent exists – but the tools now are in place. Exposure would not be an issue – ESPN and Fox Sports and all of their 75 television stations broadcast high school games across the country throughout the regular season. Their involvement has also enhanced the pageantry of postseason all-star games. And they would jump at the opportunity to televise this.
What would determine who plays in a national title game? Dunno. USA Today, Sports Illustrated and ESPN.com do a pretty good job of maintaining accurate and widely-accepted top-25 rankings, so let them duke it out to pick the top two schools.
Among those aforementioned polls, Bellevue has been generally considered a top-four program in 2012 – and is currently ranked No. 2 by Sports Illustrated. It appears Manatee High School, located in Bradenton, Fla., is the consensus No. 1 team.
Set up a national title game in the middle of Disneyworld, televise it on ESPNU right in the middle of college bowl season – and call it good.
As far as where Bellevue ranks all-time in the state of Washington, Goncharoff’s run of 10 state titles in 13 seasons is easily the best run of its kind in state history. It will continue, too – and unlikely ever be matched in a later era.
The coach was asked afterward if this was his best team. He did not answer it directly – but did admit that what this class of seniors have accomplished – four 3A titles in four year, big wins over Skyline, Bothell, Lakes, plus all of victories over out-of-state powerhouses – becomes the program’s benchmark.
Folks, you might not like the fact that seemingly every year, any 3A title-game suspense is gone before kickoff if Bellevue is playing. But the run the Wolverines is on is truly remarkable, and right up there with THE other great run by an athletic program this state has ever produced – Wilson High’s string of 24 consecutive state girls swimming titles under the legendary Dick Hannula (1960-83).