Bellevue West dominated from the beginning of the game to the end to claim the Class A State title. The end result was a 35-0 shutout against Westside to cap an undefeated season at Memorial Stadium Tuesday.
Bellevue West did most of their damage on the ground, accumulating 296 rushing yards.
"I thought we were very physical, even with our receivers, in running the ball," head coach Michael Huffman said."
The Thunderbirds opened the game with a statement drive to take the lead. Wide receiver Keagan Johnson took a jet sweep for a 46-yard touchdown to lead 6-0 with 7:24 left in the first quarter. The drive totaled 11 plays for 87 yards.
Westside opened its first possession with miscues. After the drive stalled, the snap on the punt flew over the punters head. Eventually, the punter got the ball off and Bellevue West took over at their own 45-yard line.
Just 53 seconds later, Bellevue West turned the miscue into points. Running back Jay Ducker scored on a 15-yard rushing touchdown to cap off a four-play, 55-yard drive and lead 12-0 with 3:38 left in the first quarter.
With 7:55 left in the first half, Westside fumbled the snap and Bellevue West linebacker CJ Lilienkamp recovered the ball at the Warrior 44-yard line.
The Thunderbird offense was unable to take advantage of the turnover. After a three-and-out, the Warriors took over at their own 27.
Bellevue West scored its first points of the second quarter when they capped off a 4-play, 55-yard drive with a 13-yard rushing touchdown by Ducker with 1:55 left in the first half. Quarterback Nate Glantz found tight end Micah Riley for a two-point conversion to lead 20-0.
The Thunderbirds extended their margin 39 seconds later. After Westside punted on the ensuing possession, Johnson took the first offensive snap for a 50-yard rushing touchdown. Glantz converted the two-point conversion on a rush attempt to lead 28-0 with a 1:16 left.
The Bellevue West defense continued its dominance out of halftime. Defensive linemen TJ Griffin and David Shannon combined for a stop in the backfield to start the drive and linebacker Jack McDonnell sacked Westside quarterback Cole Payton to force a three-and-out.
"Defense from day one at the beginning of the season, they wanted to write their own story and I am proud of them," coach Huffman said.
Neither team could move the ball the rest of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Jay Ducker capped off an amazing career as a Thunderbird with his third touchdown of the game. Ducker finished with 27 carries for 214 yards and three touchdowns in his curtain call.
Coach Huffman was complimentary of the Thunderbirds balanced offense this game and throughout the season.
"I feel that we are equally (talented) at running and throwing the ball and when no. 8 is on your team, it's a pretty good advantage."
Due to publication due on Monday, the full story and more will appear in the Dec. 4 issue of In The Game Sports.