Players and coaches couldn’t have asked for anything more than to see senior starting quarterback Erik Bainter hand the ball off to his dad/head coach Tom on the opening day of Bothell High’s football training sessions on Aug. 15.
While running the ball, Tom showed defenders the different ways the pigskin will be handled and coming at them.
On Aug. 31, the Cougars will battle with Legacy High on the road in Broomfield, Colorado, to kick off their season. The seeds for the trip were sown after Tom’s friend and former Legacy head coach Wayne Vorhees watched Bothell defeat visiting JK Mullen High, 31-28, from Denver in an ESPNU-televised game from Pop Keeney Stadium last fall. Vorhees offered the invitation, there was room on Bothell’s schedule and the Cougars were set for their Aug. 29-Sept. 2 trek. As part of a two-year contract, Legacy will play Bothell at the Pop next fall.
According to coach Bainter, most of the money was fundraised by each athlete, and every player had multiple opportunities to do so. Coaches and the booster club also participated in fundraising, the community supported the team in this endeavor and everything was approved by the school district.
It’s finally Erik Bainter’s time to step into the Cougars’ lead signal-caller role. He stands 6-foot-2 and a half and weighs 180 pounds and takes over for all-star Jacob Sirmon, who was the 4A KingCo offensive most valuable player last year and is now on the University of Washington roster.
“It’s fun to have your kid and your family here on the field with you,” said coach Bainter, who is also the quarterbacks coach. “I think he understands the game well. We’ll see what he can do at this level — it’s a bigger, faster game that demands a little bit more.”
One of the top returners for Bothell — which went 8-3 and qualified for state last year — is KingCo second-team running back Christian Galvan, who will also return kicks and play defensive back.
“He keeps maturing and growing. He’s as fast as he’s ever been,” coach Bainter said of the junior, who has developed a stellar work ethic and attitude during his freshman and sophomore years on varsity.
Next up are seniors Riley Morrison (slot receiver and cornerback), Darius Kubalanza (wide receiver and KingCo second-team cornerback), Mason Locknane (wide receiver and safety) and Walker Hardan (center and defensive end). Junior Ryan Metz brings toughness to his linebacker position on defense and will run the ball on offense as well.
“If we stay healthy, we’ll compete,” coach Bainter said of his team’s upcoming football journey.
On their mental game, the coach gathered the players after the first session of Camp Bothellhood on Aug. 15 to speak about shining on the field and in life.
“I just think kids have a lot of choices, and one of your choices is to be average or to be great,” he told the Reporter. “We’re just trying to help them make good choices— do the right thing.”
Aug. 31: at Legacy (Broomfield, Colorado), 7 p.m.
Sept. 8: KENNEDY, 7 p.m.
Sept. 15: O’DEA, 7 p.m.
Sept. 21: vs. North Creek, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28: SKYLINE, 7 p.m.
Oct. 5: vs. Woodinville, 7 p.m.
Oct. 12: REDMOND, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18: INGLEMOOR, 7 p.m.