Bellevue beats Red Wolves by a knockout

BELLEVUE—Like a middleweight boxer in a heavyweight

bout, Cedarcrest went toe-to-toe with Bellevue Friday night before

being knocked out for the fourth consecutive time this season.

The Red Wolves exchanged blows with the oversized opponent,

then limped home bloodied but proud after dropping a 49-26 decision to

the first-place and undefeated Wolverines (4-0). Cedarcrest has now lost 13

consecutive KingCo 3A decisions dating back to last season.

Individual offensive efforts by team captains Michael Smith

and Casey Peterson went for naught as the Cedarcrest defense was unable to

find a way to slow Bellevue's "Wing T" running attack.

Smith impressed the uppity Eastside crowd with 14 receptions

for 274 yards and four touchdowns. Many of his catches were

literally ripped out of the hands of the Wolverine defender. His big-play

potential kept the Bellevue first-team defense on the field almost the entire game.

"Mike is truly amazing," said Cedarcrest coach Art Kuehn. "We

are never out of the game or too far from the end zone when he's on the field."

Peterson came off the bench to replace an injured Nick Rich and

completed 13 of 25 passes for 221 yards and three touchdowns. Rich

recovered from a twisted knee to return for a few plays late in the contest. He

finished the game with four completions and 69 yards through the air. Running back

Jed Dern connected on his only pass attempt for a 36-yard scoring strike

to Smith.

The Wolverines had Cedarcrest on the ropes early, scoring one

touchdown on a 95-yard return on the opening kickoff and another on a

19-yard fumble recovery less than 80 seconds into the ballgame.

The Wolves made it interesting when Smith leapt over a defender

to grab a Rich pass down along the far sidelines for a 58-yard touchdown,

to make the score 14-6 after only six minutes of play.

Bellevue came right back when the Wolverine's Cory Stosich

weaved through traffic to score the first of his three touchdowns on a 66-yard

scamper from scrimmage. Stosich piled up 334 yards rushing on 16 carries,

including TD runs of 66-, 65- and 58-yards.

The teams traded scores in the second quarter. The Wolves went into

the lockeroom disappointed when junior tight end Matt Geiger was

stopped three-yards short of the end zone as time expired in the first half.

A Cedarcrest score would have brought the visiting team to within 10

points at halftime.

"It would have been a totally different second half if we had been

able to score on that play," said Kuehn.

"I told the team after the game how well they played and how proud I was

of how they stood up to Bellevue."

Cedarcrest scored again in the third quarter on a seven-play drive

that culminated with a loop pass to Smith on a gutsy fourth-and-12 from

the Wolverine 15-yard line. The senior signal caller then drilled a pass to

junior Nate McLallin for the two-point conversion to make the score

35-20 with six minutes left in the quarter.

Cedarcrest continued to battle. The Wolves' final tally came with less

than a minute gone in the fourth period, when Smith grabbed a short pass

out of the grasp of the Bellevue defensive back in the end zone.

Once again, turnovers played a key role in the outcome. Cedarcrest

failed to score from two Wolverine fumbles, while Bellevue turned all three

Red Wolf turnovers into touchdowns and 21 points. On the plus side,

the Cedarcrest defense did a valiant job keeping Bellevue fullback

Lane Johnson under wraps.

The Wolves tallied 326 yards through the air, but were unable

to compliment their passing game with a solid ground attack. Senior

Morgan Henley returned five kickoffs for 95 yards.

Cedarcrest returns to the Valley for homecoming festivities this

Friday when they play host to 2-2 Mercer Island. The Islanders shut out

Interlake last Friday for their second league victory of the year.

Kuehn said Mercer Island always presents a stiff defense, but does

not seem to have as many quality athletes on offense as in past years. The key

to this week's game, according to the coach, will be the play of

the Cedarcrest offensive line and its ability to maintain a running game.

Last season the Wolves traveled to the island to open the KingCo

season by dropping a 20-8 decision to the Islanders.

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