High school football enthusiasts know University of California-bound, and current Bothell quarterback, Ross Bowers is the real deal as a signal caller.
Bowers went 12-for-15 with three touchdown passes in Bothell’s 37-19 victory against the Newport Knights during the Class 4A semifinals on Nov. 29 at the Tacoma Dome. He undoubtedly led his team to the Class 4A state title game but the night belonged to the Cougars’ corralling defense. Bothell’s defense forced five turnovers, including four lost Newport fumbles which translated into 24 Cougars points on offense. Bothell defensive lineman Jordan Barker set the tone early, scoring on a 37-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the first quarter. The score was the second of the game for the Cougars as Damani St. John-Watkins capped the teams first drive with a two-yard touchdown run as Bothell jumped out to a 13-0 lead.
“That was my first touchdown. That was awesome. I got to give credit to my team. Miles (Lockett) made that fumble happen. I just reacted,” Barker said. “We try to play as fast as we can. We just hit hard and always try to ball out. That’s all we do.”
Cougars’ head coach Tom Bainter said his team was prepared for Newport’s commitment to the running game.
“We knew it would be a physical game. We knew they were going to get some good runs but we also knew that the ball was going to be on the ground. When you play a triple-option team, too many times the ball can get on the ground during the exchange. We were fortunate with that tonight,” Bainter said. “Our defense came up big and strong. We hit hard. It was a big part of our win.”
Bothell’s high-powered offense would show why the Cougars have averaged more than 40 points per game this season. Bowers found Jackson Keimig for a 21-yard touchdown pass and the 20-13 lead heading into the locker room.
Newport cut Bothell’s lead to 20-19 with 7:01 left in the third quarter, but the Cougars outscored the Knights 17-0 in the final 19 minutes of regulation to put the game away. Cougars’ wide receiver Dayzell Wilson, who finished with five catches for 76 yards and two touchdowns, said the defense was difference. Wilson hauled in a 16-yard touchdown toss in the third quarter and a 41-yard touchdown catch from Bowers in the fourth quarter.
“Our defense is wonderful. We always come out to battle,” Wilson said.
Bothell will face Chiawana in the Class 4A state championship game at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 6 at the Tacoma Dome.
“I’m just glad that we get another week to battle with my brothers,” Wilson said. “It feels great that all the work we put in from January to now is paying off.”
Barker echoed Wilson’s sentiment.
“We’re really excited about the opportunity. We’re ready to work hard in practice this week,” Barker said.
The Cougars will face Chiawana at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 6 at the Tacoma Dome for the state title and a shot at completing a perfect 14-0 season.
Chiawana defeated Graham-Kapowsin, 28-12, on Saturday in the Tacoma Dome.