October 4, 1999
The Cedarcrest Red Wolves played their most complete game of the season, but it wasn't enough against the #6 team in the state, the Bellevue Wolverines.
The game was almost over before it started as Bellevue's Lane Johnson ran back the opening kickoff 93 yards. Only 12 seconds into the contest it was 7-0 Wolverines.
Cedarcrest got the ball again and this time ran only two plays before disaster struck. Bellevue blitzed up the middle and forced a fumble by quarterback Nick Rich, which was returned for another quick score, and with only 1:18 gone in the game, it was 14-0 Bellevue.
From there, it was a completely different game, as Cedarcrest buckled down and started to play Red Wolf football. Bellevue stopped Cedarcrest on the series and forced a punt. Being overly aggressive has been the trademark of the Wolverines, and this time, a roughing the punter penalty on the Kingco 3A second-leading punter Nate McLallin gave the Red Wolves the ball at their own 42.
From there, it was the Michael Smith show. The lanky receiver showed his all-star form as he went up over a single defender at the 40 and pulled in the Rich pass with ease over the outmatched cornerback and then sprinted to the end zone for a quick Cedarcrest score after a gain of 58 yards. With 7:12 remaining in the first quarter, it was 14-6 Wolverines.
Bellevue drove deep into Red Wolf territory, but was twice stopped short of paydirt by the linebacking corps of Colin Guthrie and Tyson Brown. Bellevue did punch it across, and with 5:59 remaining in the half, it was 28-6 Bellevue.
Morgan Henly gave Cedarcrest their best starting field position with a nifty return out to the 48-yard line. After an exchange of field position, Cedarcrest had the ball at their own 39 with 1:29 left in the half. A quick drive set up by a pass from Casey Pettersen to Smith down to the 35 set up the Red Wolves again. A halfback pass from Jed Dern and some WWF Wrestling by Smith at the goal line, as he took the ball away from the Wolverine defender, gave Cedarcrest their second score of the half. A failed 2-point conversion, and the score was 28-12.
After the kick was recovered by Curtis Coe with 34 seconds to go in the half, an unfortunate offensive pass interference call on Smith moved Cedarcrest out of scoring position, and although they completed a pass to Matt Geiger down the left side, after some strong running and slick moves, he was stopped at the Wolverine 2 as time expired.
In the second half, Stosich was a wrecking crew for the Wolverines. He scored on long runs to keep the Suburbanites ahead in the contest.
Cedarcrest played tough, and with several scoring opportunities available, they made the most of them, as Smith converted 14 receptions into 274 yards and 4 touchdowns to pace the Red Wolf offense to their best productivity of the season. Overall, the Red Wolves combined for 326 yards passing for their highest yardage total of the season.
Late-game heroics by the Cedarcrest defense kept the Wolverine offense out of the end zone for the final 9:38 of the contest. A notable play for the defensive side was a solo tackle by senior Del Brammer, as Bellevue ran the sweep around right end which had been very successful for them all night long. Brammer played off the block and took the ball carrier down for a rare no-gain on the play.
Cedarcrest made a gallant try, but just could not overcome the 14-point cushion they extended to the hosts when the game started. Looking back at the effort the hometown squad gave, coach Art Kuhne commented, "Those kids played their hearts out. We've gotten better over the past week, and we have been improving every week of the season."
When asked about Mercer Island and the annual homecoming game at Howard Miller Field next week, Kuhne would only say, "Better look out."
With the improvement of this team from the beginning of the season until now, I can believe that they will play very well next week, and as the prognosticators are wont to say, "Any given Friday Night, any team can beat any other team." Maybe it is the Red Wolves' turn on top of the food chain.