TACOMA -- The Kamiakin Braves defense didn't underestimate Bellevue coming into the Class 3A state championship game Friday, but they sure weren't expecting what hit them.
The Wolverines used a punishing ground game to chew up the clock, yards and the scoreboard in a 38-0 victory for their eighth state title in the last 10 seasons at the Tacoma Dome.
"We've never seen this kind of offense," junior Drew Oord said. "With their size and athleticism, it was tough for us."
Running a wing-T, the Wolverines used misdirection plays to give Kamiakin fits all night.
Right from the get go, Bellevue took the ball 80 yards on 10 plays to open the scoring less than five minutes into the game.
"That first series, I think we were too amped up," junior Joe Hunt said. "We weren't playing assignment football, but we settled down. We know we can play with them, it just wasn't our night."
The Braves defense did stiffen, holding Bellevue to a field goal on its second possession and had the Wolverines in a fourth-and-short trailing 10-0 on Bellevue's third series, but Latrelle Dukes went untouched up the middle and scored from 56 yards out.
"We matched them in the third and fourth series," Kamiakin defensive coordinator Tim Maher said, "but we blew an audible and they executed.
"They were good. They were all and more than they were billed to be. It was pretty much the offense we expected it to be, but I'm not sure we expected it to be so physical."
The Braves defense held the Wolverines to 17 points in the first half, but a fumble return and an interception return for touchdowns were back-breakers.
"We had a good idea what (Kamiakin) would do," Bellevue head coach Butch Goncharoff said, "and we had a feeling we could hit some things."
The Braves' offensive struggles also affected the Kamiakin defense, keeping the unit on the field for nearly the entire first half.
"It is a lot different playing here," Oord said. "It got really hot and we were getting real tired. Playing someone as good as Bellevue, it just took it out of us."
Bellevue finished with 302 yards rushing, using the inside running game to set up sweeps and counters to the edges, as well as a play-action 62-yard touchdown pass in the second half.
"Their offensive line and their perimeter blocking was Pac-10 quality," Maher said. "It was unreal. Those guys are a machine.
"Our kids played hard, they are awesome. It was just (Bellevue's) day. Somedays you are a bug on the windshield and that's what happened to us today."
While the defense was physically and mentally worn down, the Braves can still take solace in the fact they finished second in the state, only losing to a perennial powerhouse.
"It was definitely a ground and pound team," senior Jon Allen said. "We had turnovers on offense, but we gave up huge runs on defense too.
"I'm definitely proud of what we accomplished this year, even though it didn't go our way tonight. We have to look at the positives of the things we've done that no one else has done at Kamiakin."