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Bothell High School football team returns just one starter, opener at Husky Stadium
High school kids learn and grow a lot, academically and physically, during just one year. Experience has a big impact in prep athletics. Bothell High School head football coach Tom Bainter has found himself in an unusual position as all but one of his starters from last season are gone.
But the good thing is that the one returning starter is at the most important position on the field.
“If you can only have one guy back it is great to have it be your quarterback,” said Bainter. “And he is a great leader.”
He is also wanted. Many schools, including the University of Washington, have began to recruit Ross Bowers - and he is only a junior.
“I feel really good,” said Bowers. “I was a captain last year too but I have a little more control this year. These guys are great to be with and I don’t need to yell that much to get them going.”
Bowers knows the weight on his shoulders this season and used the spring and summer to prepare.
“I really worked on my QB craft during the off season,” said Bowers. “One thing I learned last season is that if you don’t work your hardest to get better at practice you’ll get beat because the other team will.”
Bowers said that many of the new starters have surprised him.
“I am seeing them make a lot of plays I wasn’t sure they could,” said Bowers. “If I don’t make the best pass they can still make a play on the ball and that is nice to see.”
Bowers was well protected last season while in the pocket. But he is not afraid of opposing defenses with the five lineman he has this year.
“I had buildings for my line last year,” said Bowers. “But I would never trade this line for anything. I feel safe with these guys.”
Running back Sam McPherson will also depend on that line as he takes over for Danny Wilson, who was one of the best in the state last season and will play for the University if Idaho this year.
“He is just a workhorse,” said Bowers of his tailback.
Bainter said that his team will have to come together quickly but he has faith they can do it.
“I don’t know how you replace 15 seniors,” said Bainter. “The fun part is that we will learn on the go. They have to want to get better every day because our goals have not changed.”
Those goals include defending the division title they won last season. The team finished with a 6-5 record overall and also won a playoff game before losing in the second round of state.
The first game of the season may be one of the biggest of the year. The team will play in the Emerald City Classic for the fourth time. This year the game will be played at the brand new Husky Stadium on Sept. 7.
“Can it be any better than playing in the best college football venue in the country?” asked Bainter.
The Cougars will take on Coeur d’Alene High School, which won the Idaho state title in 2010 and 2011.
“This [Cougar] team will play in that game because of what past Bothell teams have done,” said Bainter. “And what they do in that game will pave the way for future teams.”
For Bowers, the game has extra meaning as his mother is a longtime gymnastics coach at the University of Washington.
“I have been going there nearly my entire life and I get to play in one of the first games there? Amazing,” said Bowers. “It’s going to be a great memory.”
Bainter said the team’s game against perennial powerhouse Bellevue is a chance to prove what the Cougars are made of. Games against Woodinville and Eastlake could be season-defining moments as well.
Cougars’ football schedule
Sept. 7 Coeur d’Alene, ID at Husky Stadium 4 p.m.
Sept. 13 at Bellevue 7 p.m.
Sept. 21 Capital at home 7 p.m.
Sept. 27 at Eastlake 7 p.m.
Oct. 4 Redmond at home 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 at Glacier Peak (Snohomish HS) 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 at Inglemoor (Pop Keeney) 7 p.m.
Oct. 25 Woodinville at home 7 p.m.
Nov. 1 KingCo Crown vs Crest Cross-Over TBA
Home games are played at Bothell’s Pop Keeney Stadium.