Week four of the local prep football season has something special on tap: Bothell High will host JK Mullen High from Denver, Colorado, at 7 p.m. tonight at Pop Keeney Stadium.
Mullen is an eight-time Colorado state champ, last winning the crown in 2010, and Bothell snagged its sole state title in 2014 and finished with a 14-0 record.
Bothell High Athletic Director Yonni Mills posted on the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association website in early 2017 that the Cougars were looking for a game on their bye week. Mullen assistant football coach Scott Bielat saw the note and contacted Mills within a week to 10 days and got the proverbial ball rolling. Both teams have played out-of-state contests in the past, including a Bothell trip to Miami three years ago.
“We’re really excited to be able to host them,” said Mills, noting that it’s been great working with Bielat and his crew. “Mullen is just a first-rate program. It’s gonna be a fun night.”
Bothell is 2-1 this season — coming off a 34-27 victory over Skyline last weekend — and Mullen is 2-2 — defeating Westminster, 41-16, last weekend.
“(They are) two teams that run pretty much the same offense and defense. They have a great group of skill kids and are fundamentally sound and well coached. It will be a great challenge for us tonight,” said Bothell head coach Tom Bainter.
The game will be broadcast live on ESPNU, Comcast channel 400, or by downloading the ESPN app. Paragon Marketing’s Robin Kelner — who was integral in making Bothell’s Miami trip happen — contacted Mills about bringing ESPNU on board. The station flew people in and out of Bothell for the last few weeks to check things out, and there are a bevy of vans onsite and ready for tonight’s action.
The Mullen crew arrived in the area on Thursday. Mills said ESPNU’s analysts interviewed players and coaches from both teams on Thursday night, and this morning Mullen’s players conducted a walk-through at Pop Keeney, which has a capacity of 5,309.
“The kids were in really high spirits,” said Mills noting that for both teams, “It’s just a great experience for kids.”
Along with Bielat and Kelner, Mills gave kudos to Pop Keeney manager Steve Simpson, who has been coordinating with the ESPNU crew to piece everything together.
In addition to the action on the field, ESPNU will interview Bothell wide receiver Ryder Locknane, who will discuss how his chemistry teacher Todd Fredrickson has made an impact on the Cougar’s high-school experience.
Key players for tonight’s matchup will be:
Bothell – Christian Galvan, So., RB, 5-7, 178; Joey Inghram, Sr., LB, 6-1, 197; Darius Kubalanza, Jr., DB-WR, 6-0, 171; Jaelan Percival, Sr., LB, 6-1, 201; Jacob Sirmon, Sr., QB, 6-5, 229; Hunter Smith, Sr., OL-DL, 6-6, 273; Da’vicious Wilson, Sr., WR-DB, 6-3, 163
Mullen – Dominic DiPizzol, Jr., QB, 6-foot, 180 pounds; Wind Henderson, Jr., WR, 6-0, 150 pounds; Adrian Jackson, Sr., S-WR, 6-3, 210; Florian McCann III, Sr., T, 6-5, 275; Alonzo Moon, Sr., RB, 5-10,180; A’Jon Vivens, Sr., WR-DB, 6-0, 185
Ticket prices are $7/adult, $7/student without ASB card, free/student with ASB card, $5/kindergarten-junior high student, free/pre-kindergarten and senior citizens age 65 and up.