Bothell advances in state football playoffs with thrilling win over Kentwood

Cougars defeat Conquerors, 17-14, at Pop Keeney Stadium.

Bothell High’s Ryan Metz pointed at teammate Colin Fisherkeller following the dramatic ending to Friday night’s 4A state football matchup with Kentwood High.

Metz said that Fisherkeller registered the huge sack to put Kentwood in the position to attempt a 41-yard field goal to tie the game with 1:09 left in the fourth quarter at Pop Keeney Stadium. Metz also participated in the 2-yard loss on third-and-four at the Cougar 24-yard-line. When players rose from the turf, Metz had his hands clamped around the Conqueror runner as the Bothell crowd erupted.

On their next play, the Conks’ kick sailed wide and Bothell notched a thrilling 17-14 victory and moves on to the next round of the playoffs. Bothell’s Charlie Shulkin cashed in with the game-winning 28-yard field goal to break a 14-14 deadlock with 7:47 left in the game.

“The defense is great. We all love each other, we all believe in each other. We all hold each other accountable to do (the) job. We go all out every play. That’s really what makes the difference for us,” Metz said.

Another massive defensive stand for Bothell (9-2, seeded fifth) came with 7:05 left in the third quarter when the Cougars stopped Kentwood (8-3, seeded 12th) on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard-line. Bothell held onto a 14-7 lead at that juncture of the contest.

“It’s all grit. We’re one big barrier. We put our defense in on the goal line, we trust our D line, take out their bus, we’ll all make a play, everybody. That team tackle on the 1-yard-line, with the fumble, too, there’s nothing like it,” Fisherkeller said.

Both defenses were tough to crack, but each team took advantage of their windows of opportunity to plow through the steely crews.

Fisherkeller opened the scoring with a 49-yard reception from Andrew Sirmon on Bothell’s second play from scrimmage with 9:53 left in the first quarter. Bothell went up 14-0, again courtesy of a Fisherkeller catch, this time a 2-yarder from Sirmon with 2:45 remaining in the first half.

“Last game at The Pop, we knew we had to come out with a bang. We fly around, we trust each other, we know what to do,” Fisherkeller said.

Kentwood scored on a 20-yard pass at the end of the half and tied the score at 14-14 on a 3-yard run with 11:04 left in the game.

On defense, Kentwood recovered three fumbles to keep the game tight and take it down to the wire.

* Bothell will play Graham Kapowsin (11-0, seeded fourth) in the quarterfinals at 1 p.m. Nov. 23 at Art Crate Field in Spanaway.

Bothell’s defense forces a fumble against Kentwood. Photo courtesy of Greg Nelson

Bothell’s defense forces a fumble against Kentwood. Photo courtesy of Greg Nelson