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McPherson, Bothell run over Graham-Kapowsin during state playoff game | Prep football

Bothell High School junior Sam McPherson, pictured here against Puyallup on Nov. 8, ran for nearly 300 yards and scored four touchdowns Friday against Graham-Kapowsin in at Art Crate Stadium in Spanaway. - Reporter file photo/Tony Quintos
Bothell High School junior Sam McPherson, pictured here against Puyallup on Nov. 8, ran for nearly 300 yards and scored four touchdowns Friday against Graham-Kapowsin in at Art Crate Stadium in Spanaway.
— image credit: Reporter file photo/Tony Quintos

The Bothell High School football team faced one of its biggest tests of the season heading into Friday's state playoff game against Graham-Kapowsin. After all, the Eagles entered the game undefeated at 10-0, were ranked No. 3 in the state and if the Cougars lost their season was over.

But someone forgot to tell Bothell running back Sam McPherson that the defense on the other side of the field was one of the best in the state. McPherson shredded the Eagles for nearly 300-yards rushing and four touchdowns, as Bothell advanced to the round of eight with a 52-28 victory at Art Crate Stadium in Spanaway.

Whipping wind and rain made any offense through the air difficult, but Bothell scored its first touchdown on a five-yard pass from quarterback Ross Bowers to Ryan Knight.

That 7-0 lead doubled just when it looked like the Eagle defense might bury Bothell. Precariously perched on their own two-yard line, Bowers handed the ball to McPherson in an attempt to just push the ball out a few yards. But McPherson's churning and anxious legs behind the line of scrimmage were freed, as the Bothell sideline roared to life and McPherson galloped 98 yards for the touchdown.

The Eagles kept pace, scoring a touchdown on a 20-yard pass play on their ensuing possession and Bothell responded with a 35-yard touchdown pass from Bowers to Dayzell Wilson.

The Cougars built a 28-7 lead just before halftime on a six-yard touchdown run by McPherson.

Graham-Kapowsin looked to have some new life after the break, driving down field and scoring on a six-yard run by Teague James. James, one of the best running backs in the state, finished the game with 240-yards rushing.

But this day was McPherson's. The junior exploded out of the back field on the Cougars' next possession and sprinted 63 yards for a touchdown, deflating any residual excitement from the Eagle players.

A 46-yard field goal from Rilyn Gheradini to open the third quarter pushed the Bothell advantage to 38-14. McPherson also showed he can catch as well as run, scoring on a 50-yard pass play from Bowers.

The final score of the game for Bothell came from Damani St. Johns-Watkins on a 23-yard run. The score pushed Bothell's advantage to 52-14.

Graham-Kapowsin would score two more touchdowns before the end of the game but it would be too little too late.

Bothell improves to 8-2 with the win but more importantly will play next weekend during the state quarterfinals. The Cougars will face the winner of Newport and Bellarmine Prep, to be played today at 2 p.m. in Bellevue.

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