TACOMA -- Longtime Bellevue football fan Mary Maron wasn’t at the game Friday, but her good-luck charm was.
Maron’s necklace adorned with nine state championship rings made the trip to the Tacoma Dome and was eventually draped around Budda Baker’s neck.
The junior deserved the hardware after scoring two touchdowns and intercepting a pass to lead the Wolverines to a fifth consecutive Class 3A state championship, defeating Eastside Catholic 35-3.
“It means the world to me,” Baker said. “This is only my second one. I’m just so thankful. So grateful to be a part of it.”
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It was also the 10th title the school has won since 2001.
Baker returned a punt 71 yards for a touchdown to open the scoring, and added a 61-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to all but end the game.
He added the interception in the fourth quarter to help lead a stellar defensive effort for the Wolverines.
“These guys did a great job,” Bellevue coach Butch Goncharoff said. “They hung in there and played a great game. This never gets old.”
Bellevue’s defense, a hallmark of the program’s dominance the last decade, was up to the task again Friday. The Wolverines allowed just the field goal, and that was only after the offense turned the ball over on a fumble.
It was a dominating effort for a dominating team, which wrapped up its second consecutive undefeated season.
And a big part of that was Baker.
After an early stop on defense, the speedster took a long punt, made a nice cutback to the middle of the field and scored untouched to take the air out of the Eastside Catholic cheering section in the first quarter.
His touchdown run came midway through the third quarter, as he made another nice cutback and was off to the races.
“On the kick, I saw an opening and ran to it as best I could,” he said. “On the run, John (Nguyen) made a wonderful block, and I just cut back.”
Baker finished with 93 yards on five carries. Quarterback Jack Meggs added 108 yards on eight carries, scoring two touchdowns. Myles Jack finished with 105 yards rushing on six carries and had a 95-yard touchdown run.
Afterward, the team wore T-shirts with a giant X on them to symbolize the amount of titles won under Goncharoff.But only one athlete got to wear the necklace of champions.
Bellevue 7 7 7 14 -- 35
Eastside Catholic 0 3 0 0 -- 3
B--Budda Baker 71 punt return (Ryan Bordner kick), 9:28
EC--FG Jacob Gai 33, 11:08
B--Jack Meggs 29 run (Bordner kick), 9:07
B--Baker 61 run (Bordner kick), 4:49
B--Meggs 6 run (Bordner kick), 7:56
B--Myles Jack 95 run (Alexander Kruse kick), 4:50
Rushing--Bellevue: Meggs 8-108, Jack 6-105, Baker 5-93, John Nguyen 7-12. Eastside Catholic: Trey Reynolds 23-41, Henry Jarvis 9-36, Elisha Pa’Aga 4-17, Brandon Wellington 5-1.
Passing--Bellevue: Meggs 4-7-0--35. Eastside Catholic: Reynolds 13-25-0--133, Peter Kimble 0-3-1—0.
Receiving--Bellevue: Scott Whiting 2-38, Nguyen 1-(minus 1), Baker 1-(minus 2). Eastside Catholic: Colin Boit 6-34, Jarvis 3-9, Johnny Michalik 2-59, Hayden Meier 1-23.
First downs--B 10, EC 18. Fumbles-lost--B 1-1, EC 0-0. Penalties-yards--B 8-73, EC 4-25. Punts-Avg.--B 2-33.5, EC 4-47.8.
w Craig Craker: 582-1509; firstname.lastname@example.org