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Putting Bellevue’s fifth consecutive 3A football title in perspective

Post by Todd Milles / The News Tribune on Dec. 1, 2012 at 8:56 am with 3 Comments »
December 1, 2012 8:59 am

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 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).

Leave a comment Comments → 3
  1. LanceWhite says:

    A HS national championship game is the most stupid idea, ever. These kids are already exploited enough with people obsessing about how highly recruited they might be, and calling press conferences to announce where they are going to college. So, yea, lets continue to add to that for the sole purpose of creating a television event. Brilliant!! So, how would these teams get to the game location? As it stands now, Bellevue pays their own way to every playoff game.

    You do realize that many of these students play other sports almost immediately after football season ends. So why impact the wrestling and basketball teams by requiring these kids to continue to practice? If I’m the basketball coach and I have my star player also playing football, we are both likely looking forward to the end of football season. If losing these players to practice and play
    In some mythical national championship game causes me to lose some basketball games, I’m not going to be happy.

    Also, what are the WIAA rules around playing football after the season officially ends? Sure, it would basically be an “exhibition” game, so what would stop say, Eastside Catholic scheduling another game in December with a mythically nationally ranked HS team? Shouldn’t they be able to do that. If Bellevue can do it, why can’t every school?

    You do realize these are students first, right? How would this impact their class time?

    You really haven’t thought this through. It appears to be a knee-jerk reaction to some ridiculous desire to settle how good Bellevue is.

    They’re very good, okay? They’ve proven that 10 out of last 11years. Why isn’t that sufficient for these students?

  2. Yeah, what a horrible idea. Allow kids to play another football game? OMG, that sounds terrible! Match them up with another top team in the country, and get some national exposure, which could go on to help promote the state of Washington, and possibly help our local colleges in their recruiting process? This just keeps getting worse and worse! I mean, no one will EVER watch this game(At least not LanceWhite, anyway). I’d say, at the most, you might get 10 million people… Sounds like a waste of time to me. I’m sure some network would NEVER even think of picking up some of the travel costs to make this happen. Oh, and as far as the kids go, I’m sure none of them want to play in a high school national championship game… I can just hear them now, “Another football game? For a national championship? On TV? That sounds stupid and boring”, says Billy, ” I just want to get home so I can do my math homework, and finish reading To Kill a Mockingbird”

  3. mojjonation says:

    Sounds as if another washed up former high school athlete that got stuck selling cars or insurance after he didn’t get picked for a scholarship is upset. It’s OK. This is Washington state where everyone can be reformed with a hug and a handshake.

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