BOTHELL — Vengeance is mine sayeth the horde.
Led by quarterback Johnny Hekker and running back Patrick Ottorbech the Bothell Cougars exacted a measure of revenge as they blew past the defending champion Oak Harbor Wildcats 42-14 in a Class 4A state quarterfinal playoff game at Pop Keeney Stadium Friday night.
A standing-room only crowd estimated by school officials at more than 8,000 people watched as Bothell, whose fans call it the Blue Train, steamrolled an Oak Harbor team that defeated the Cougars in last year’s state championship game.
With the triumph, top-ranked Bothell (12-0) advances to a semifinal game next Friday or Saturday against the winner of today’s quarterfinal contest between No. 2 ranked Ferris (11-0) and unranked Graham-Kapowsin (8-3). Oak Harbor (11-1) absorbed its first defeat since an early season loss to Lake Stevens in 2006.
“We talked about before the game is this was not a revenge game,” Bothell coach Tom Bainter said. “We have different kids, we returned just one starter on offense … coming in we talked about how this (Oak Harbor) is a huge game against a great football team, the defending state champions, how fun will this be?”
The covered grandstand was filled beyond capacity as was the visitor’s bleachers across the field (estimated combined seating capacity 4,500). Fans lined the fences four-deep on both sides of the field and 20 portable bleachers ringing the north end of the field were jam-packed in anticipation of a classic match-up between two teams that came in a combined 47-3 over the last two seasons.
“Our staff put together a great game plan, our kids executed perfectly,” Bainter continued “Holy cow you don’t get to play in this kind of electric atmosphere very often.”
Hekker and Ottorbech provided the early spark that ignited the home crowd.
The relentless Blue Train rolled on first-half scoring drives of 80, 54, 60 and 89 yards, thoroughly dominating the Wildcats while building a commanding 28-7 lead.
The carnage included a trio of touchdown runs by Ottorbech covering 15, 10 and a 36-yard dagger inside the final minute of the second quarter that stretched the lead to 21 points.
“My lineman Jackson Pierce set a perfect block and sealed off their linebacker,” Ottorbech said of the latter scoring run, which came on a draw play. “I thought ‘this is going to the house.’”
When Ottorbech, who finished with 12 carries for 138 yards, wasn’t dashing off left tackle or right up the middle, Hekker was putting his formidable passing skills on display.
In the first half, the senior signal-caller completed eight of nine passes for 125 yards including a gem of a 48-yard touchdown strike to Perry Conricode early in the second quarter.
Bothell piled up more than 300 yards of offense in the first half, while limiting Oak Harbor to 104.
“Everybody’s doing their job,” said Hekker who finished the game 10-for-12 for 161 yards and threw another TD pass to Conricode that made the score 42-7 with 2:54 to play in the third quarter. “It was surprising to see how ready we were for this game…this was not what I expected, Oak Harbor fought hard came out with a good game plan…we just came out with a better one.”
Bothell won despite committing three turnovers, including a fumbled punt that set-up a 16-yard touchdown run by Oak Harbor’s Chris Valencia that knotted the score 7-7 early in the first quarter. But the Wildcats had four turnovers, including two interceptions by Bothell’s Kurt Stottlemyer.
Bothell’s defense — a unit that has posted five shutouts this season — held Oak Harbor’s most notable weapons, including Encinas and multiple threat Valencia in relative check. Encinas finished 11-for-24 for 96 yards while Valencia managed 48 yards on 12 carries. Oak Harbor’s Joe Raymond had a goal line interception of a Hekker pass early in the third quarter.
“Our defense has been locked down all season,” Hekker said. “In playoff football everybody has to step up a little bit and we’re all doing that.
At Pop Keeney Stadium
Bothell — Ottorbech 15 run (Hekker kick)
Oak Harbor — Valencia 16 run (Johnson kick)
Bothell — Conricode 48 pass from Hekker (Hekker kick)
Bothell — Ottorbech 10 run (Hekker kick)
Bothell — Ottorbech 36 run (Hekker kick)
Bothell — Kirchner 4 run (Hekker kick)
Bothell — Conricode 24 pass from Hekker (Hekker kick)
Oak Harbor — Valencia kick (Johnson kick)
Records — Oak Harbor 11-1, Bothell 12-0.