Tom Bainter was the first man out of the locker room on Thursday evening.
He burst through the door, walking quickly in the direction of the buses. Halfway to the gate leading out of Pop Keeney Stadium, Bainter turned and spoke sharply to the Bothell High football players slowly dribbling out behind him.
“Don’t mope,” he barked. “Two rows, hold hands.”
The Cougars dropped a critical KingCo Conference game on Thursday, Oct. 6, losing to Skyline 34-13. Bothell (2-2 KingCo, 4-2) rallied for a close game at halftime, but fizzled down the stretch and allowed the conference title to all but slip away.
Skyline quarterback Drew Kistner finished with 28 completions for 364 yards and four passing touchdowns, also scoring on a 10-yard run in the third quarter.
Skyline (4-0, 5-1) scored four consecutive times to close out the game, drawing harsh words from Bainter as the Bothell players plodded through the rain in the parking lot.
“I’ve coached football here for 17 years, and this is what I told them: I’m disheartened,” he said. “I’ve never seen a team not compete, not want to go hard, not want to give it all.”
Mistakes are fine, Bainter said, but only as long as the team plays all-in.
“Our team did not play football that way today, and I don’t know why,” he said. “It starts in the mirror with me. It starts with our staff and me and how we practice, and we’ll go from there.”
Bothell lost a big conference game to Woodinville on Sept. 23, but Bainter said he “slept like a baby” afterward. The Cougars battled against a good team and came up empty-handed, but the Skyline loss was different.
The Cougars gave up two passing touchdowns in the first quarter, allowing a score on Skyline’s opening drive. Bothell put up back-to-back touchdowns and had a chance to tie the game, but missed the extra point.
Skyline responded by marching down the field and scoring less than 90 seconds later, just before the end of the first half.
“I think we dug ourselves a hole on the first play of the game,” Bainter said. “We make mistakes on offense, we give up easy touchdowns on defense, we get in a hole and then we start to play. You can’t give a team like Skyline 14 points and say, ‘Okay, now we’ll play.'”
Bothell only ran the ball 20 times, splitting the majority of the carries between Alex Indelicato and Jalen Ford. The two combined for 87 yards, and the team finished with 97 rushing yards.
Sirmon attempted 42 passes, completing 20 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns. The Bothell highlight of the game came in the second quarter, when Jacob Stansberry tipped a pass into the hands of Daniel Johnson for an unlikely 47-yard score.
Indelicato had a 47-yard reception as well, though the resulting drive ended in a turnover on downs. Indelicato finished with three receptions for 90 yards.
Sirmon managed positive yardage on the ground, and was only sacked once despite being hit as he threw on several occasions. He and a handful of others were visibly banged up after the game, which puts Bothell in a precarious position.
KingCo’s 4A division has four playoff spots, but the third and fourth-place teams have to play on the road against tough North Puget Sound League teams. The better the finish, the better the seed.
Thankfully, it appears the meat of the KingCo schedule is in the books.
“This was just a really great team that came out and played a great game,” Sirmon said. “We had a couple errors that could have sent the game differently, but we’ll come and do our best next week.”
Bainter was less positive.
“Our problem is not our opponent, our problem is ourselves,” he said. “We have to decide how we want to play football in this program — if we want to go hard, if we want to work hard, if we want to practice hard, and we need to figure that out.”
Next, Bothell is scheduled to continue with a conference game at Issaquah High School on Friday, Oct. 14. The Eagles were 1-4 on the season going into the Oct. 7 game against Woodinville.
at Pop Keeney Stadium, Bothell
Skyline 34, Bothell 13
S 14 6 7 7 — 34
B 0 13 0 0 — 13
S — Bradley Kim 33 pass from Drew Kistner (Liam Carius kick), 10:07
S — Alex Diegel 12 pass from Kistner (Carius kick), 5:39
B — Daniel Johnson 47 pass from Jacob Sirmon (James Johnston kick), 6:46
B — Da’Vicious Wilson 19 pass from Sirmon (Kick blocked), 1:51
S — Luke Stiles 20 pass from Kistner (Kick missed), :28
S — Kistner 10 run (Carius kick), 5:56
S — Kim 53 pass from Kistner (Carius kick), 5:42
RUSHING — S: Isaiah Shim 20-141, Kistner 14-56, Prescott Wong 4-27, Kim 1-(minus 4). B: Alex Indelicato 8-63, Jalen Ford 5-24, Sirmon 6-12, Christian Galvan 1-(minus 2).
PASSING — S: Kistner 28-37-1-364, Joe Green 2-2-0-9. B: Sirmon 20-42-0-275.
RECEIVING — S: Kim 6-154, Stiles 13-119, Diegel 2-32, Alex Taylor 2-27, CJ Moore 3-17, Cory Anderson 2-9, Jack McCarthy 1-6, Jack Daynes 1-2. B: Indelicato 3-90, Wilson 6-58, Johnson 2-51, Ryder Locknane 3-34, Jacob Stansberry 2-22, Kevin Liu 1-13, Ford 2-5, Peter Davis 1-2.