Anacortes players participate in the tug-of-war during the Lakewood 7on7 passing tournament and lineman challenge at Lakewood High School in Arlington, Washington on Saturday, July 29, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Anacortes players participate in the tug-of-war during the Lakewood 7on7 passing tournament and lineman challenge at Lakewood High School in Arlington, Washington on Saturday, July 29, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Bothell edges Lake Stevens for title at Lakewood 7-on-7 tournament

The 15th edition of the Cougars Passing Championship saw another Class 4A showdown in the finals. Meanwhile, Anacortes won the Lineman Challenge.

ARLINGTON — Lakewood High School’s active 7-on-7 summer football tournament was back in Smokey Point on Saturday for another edition.

The 15th annual Cougars Championship Passing Tournament and Lineman Challenge made it the longest running 7-on-7 event in the state in 2023.

After Class 4A powerhouse Lake Stevens took home the championship trophy in 2021 and 2022, the offseason tournament provided a different winner this year.

Bothell collided with Lake Stevens in the final round, shutting down the Vikings in the second half to seal a 26-21 victory, good for the Bothell Cougars’ first tournament win in five years.

In the Lineman Challenge, Anacortes took home first in a tight competition and won by a tiebreaker over Lake Stevens.

Tournament director Dan Teeter was in his first summer running the show without dual responsibilities as the Lakewood Cougars head coach, which he stepped down from after 17 seasons.

“It was a great day, the weather was perfect for it,” Teeter said. “Great competition all day long, the teams who ended up grabbing the top four seeds made it into the semifinals. .. Bothell survived an early-round scare and just kept getting better throughout the day.”

Darrington and Stanwood players fight for the ball during the Lakewood 7on7 passing tournament and lineman challenge at Lakewood High School in Arlington, Washington on Saturday, July 29, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Darrington and Stanwood players fight for the ball during the Lakewood 7on7 passing tournament and lineman challenge at Lakewood High School in Arlington, Washington on Saturday, July 29, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

After going 3-0 in the opening-round games, fourth-seeded Bothell edged past No. 13 Jackson 30-27 in overtime in the first round of the playoff bracket, setting up a 31-21 win over No. 5 Arlington in the quarterfinals.

The Bothell Cougars handled 4A state runner-up and No. 1 seed Kennedy Catholic 41-24 in the semis, topping off the day by climbing out of a 14-10 halftime deficit to beat the reigning 2022 4A state champs Lake Stevens (No. 2) 26-21.

After Bothell’s first losing season in 24 years under longtime coach Tom Bainter, the first-place finish was a needed pick-me-up as the group looks toward a bounce-back year in KingCo 4A.

“This is why we come out and play in these things,” Bainter said. “You can teach your kids to compete to win, but the effort part is the most important. You give yourself an opportunity to win by playing your hardest all the time. We had a game where we didn’t play very hard, and we barely won in overtime, we learned from that. There’s only one way to play if you want to be great.”

Bothell duo claims Offensive and Defensive MVP honors

Seniors Tyson Brown and Tyson Hoke each took home individual awards in the passing tournament. Brown, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound tight end and slot receiver, was one of the more challenging covers for defenses throughout the day, grabbing clutch touchdowns in both the semis and the championship round against the Lancers.

Hoke, a free safety, was just as impactful for Bothell’s defensive unit, intercepting a Lake Stevens pass in the finals for a 20-14 lead in the second half.

“For us, we had a couple of rough games even though we pulled out the win because of the talent we have on the team,” Brown said. “It was just bouncing back, getting together, connecting, talking through our problems and getting through it. .. Offensive MVP is an honor, but I couldn’t have done it without my quarterbacks and other teammates allowing me to get open.”

New Lakewood coach gets first taste of leading Cougars

New Lakewood head coach Adam McShane had his first go at leading the program through the full 7-on-7 tournament.

Class 2A and Northwest Conference fixture Lakewood held its own before bowing out to Lake Stevens 27-15 in the quarterfinals. Senior wide out Toren Jack and quarterback Nash Espe, a junior, offered a strong connection for the Cougars offense.

A one-possession loss to Kennedy Catholic in the final round of pool play barred the No. 7 Cougars from a top-four seed in the playoff bracket. They beat No. 10 seed Cedarcrest 48-28 in the opening playoff round before falling short of an upset over the Vikings.

Lakewood and Kennedy Catholic players fight for the ball during the Lakewood 7on7 passing tournament and lineman challenge at Lakewood High School in Arlington, Washington on Saturday, July 29, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Lakewood and Kennedy Catholic players fight for the ball during the Lakewood 7on7 passing tournament and lineman challenge at Lakewood High School in Arlington, Washington on Saturday, July 29, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

“I always encourage them that it’s not us versus them, it’s us versus our own best self,” McShane said. “So, I didn’t really care how well we played against Kennedy or Lake Stevens, I cared how well we compared to ourselves on tape. .. It’s all about getting better each and every play.”

McShane, a 2015 Blaine High School graduate, ended up facing off against his alma mater in an early-round matchup. White River, where McShane coached as an assistant for the past four seasons, also competed at the Lakewood tournament.

“It was cool,” McShane said. “To see Blaine compete (and) to see some of the kids I’ve been with at White River for a long time, they had a good day. That was special. You know, not over-stepping or trying to coach kids, but just love them up. … It’s more than football.”

Lineman Challenge results

Lineman Champions — Anacortes

Lineman MVP — Garrett Smith, sr., Anacortes

Bench Press — 1. Lake Stevens, 2. Bothell, 3. North Kitsap, 4. Cedarcrest, 5. Bainbridge

Tire Toss — 1. Cedarcrest, 2. North Kitsap, 3. Bainbridge, 4. Lake Stevens, 5. Anacortes

Tire Flip Relay — 1. Lake Stevens, 2. Anacortes, 3. Bothell, 4. North Creek, 5. North Kitsap

6-man Sled Drive — 1. Anacortes, 2. Bainbridge, 3. North Kitsap, 4. Lake Stevens, 5. Cedarcrest

Tug-of-War — 1. Cedarcrest, 2. Anacortes, 3. Bothell, 4. North Kitsap, 5. Lake Stevens

4×100 Relay — 1. North Creek, 2. Bainbridge, 3. Lakewood, 4. Anacortes, 5. Lake Stevens

Team point totals — Anacortes (16), Lake Stevens (16), North Kitsap (13), Cedarcrest (13), Bainbridge (12), Bothell (10), North Creek (7), Lakewood (3).

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