Don’t go throwing dirt on Bothell football just yet.
In as electric an atmosphere as could be expected on the last night of September, the Cougars withstood a late Inglemoor rally to grab the Spaghetti Bowl 32-30 at Pop Keeney Stadium on Friday.
It was Bothell’s 10th straight regular-season victory over the Vikings, dating back to 2002, and they did it behind a ground attack that amassed 311 yards rushing.
Kizhan Proctor ran for 170 on 18 carries — including a breakaway 54-yard touchdown in the third quarter — and Danny Wilson, playing with a massive cast on his broken wrist in his first game back, added 95 more with two TDs.
“It’s nice to have him back,” Cougar coach Tom Bainter said. “Kizhan’s done a great job, runs hard and breaks it, too. But you got now a one-two punch with some speed in there. On that draw he broke for a touchdown, he scoots ... He might be the only kid on our team who scores on that play.”
Bothell took a 19-10 lead into halftime, before the University of Washington marching band delighted the crowd with a flashy guest performance.
Then the Vikings’ Junior Vi returned the second half kickoff to the Bothell 47 and Inglemoor was back in business.
Seven plays later Jake Jones scored on a one-yard plunge and it was 19-17.
After exchanging punts, Proctor’s TD burst made it 25-17, setting up a wild and wooly fourth quarter.
On fourth-and-11 from the Bothell 44, Cougar Austen Dahl faked a punt, tucked it and ran it to the stick for a critical first down that may have been the determining play of the night.
Six plays later he scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak to make it 32-17 with 8:30 left — a major momentum swing.
“That fake punt was huge,” Bainter said, “and kind of a game-changer at the time. And that was not my call: it’s a ‘We trust you, Austen’ play. Kick it or if you think you can get a first down go ahead and do it. Hey, that was close ... that was inches.”
Down 15 points and battling the clock, the Vikings did not pack it in.
Aided by two highlight-reel receptions by senior Perry Pipkin, Inglemoor went 63 yards in 11 plays as Jones punched in a five-yard TD run to make it 32-23.
With 4:39 remaining Viking coach Frank Naish opted for the two-point conversion and the pass sailed high and incomplete.
Inglemoor’s ground ball kickoff was returned by Bothell to midfield for what seemed like a conclusion: The Cougars ran it customarily between the tackles to grind it out as the Vikings ran out of time outs.
But not so fast: Bothell lost a yard on third-and-3 and was forced to punt with three long minutes remaining.
The punt was blocked by Jason Virgl and recovered by Titus Makasini at the 50 and the mad chase was on for the home team.
Behind two more sensational grabs by Pipkin, Inglemoor pieced together a choppy drive that resulted in a 6-yard TD pass from Hans Fortune to Danny Larson to make it a two-point game with a minute left as the Pop rocked.
Bothell prepared for the obvious onside kick with nine members of its “hands team” up front, and the toe-tap was recovered by the Cougs’ Aaron Wilks amidst the nasty scrum: Ballgame.
Dahl, who was rock-solid on defense at safety while also running the offense, took a knee three times as the clock ran out on the Vikes.
Bainter was asked about the performance of his senior quarterback, who’s been under the gun in more ways than one.
“We used his athleticism tonight because he runs well ... That’s what athletes do,” he said. “They make plays and you gotta trust your athletes.”
The prevailing scuttlebutt coming into the season, it was suggested to Bainter, was that this was a “down year” for Bothell, now 3-2 overall, but 2-0 in KingCo. Did this win dispel that notion?
“You know what? I think we’ve got a long way to go still until we get to where we want to be,” he said. “But I love our team chemistry and we’ve been getting better every week. We knew this was a big game but our kids weren’t over-hyped. They had the right attitude coming in.”
It sets up a showdown with undefeated Woodinville this Friday.
“Yeah, we saw Woodinville and they’re as good as they’ve been for maybe a decade,” he said. “They’re talented, but we just think about the blue team ... We gotta fix some mistakes, execute a little better ... we can’t control what their kids do or look like but we can get better at what we do and that’s what we’ll have to do this week.”
Note: Pipkin caught five passes for 70 yards, showing exceptional hands and athletic ability. Bothell’s highly-touted receiver Trent Sewell, who covered Pipkin as a DB at times, did not record a reception in the game.