Running into the same buzz saw that ripped through opponents the past 17 seasons, the Oak Harbor High School football team lost 42-7 at Bellevue Saturday, Nov. 11, in the first round of the state tournament.
The fourth-ranked Wolverines (10-1) move on to the state quarterfinals, facing seventh-ranked Timberline (11-0), who beat fifth-ranked Kamiakin 26-22.
Bellevue is looking for its 12th state championship since 2001.
Oak Harbor, which won the state 4A title in 2006, was making the school’s eighth tournament appearance and now has a 6-7 record in the event.
The Wildcats finished the 2017 season with a 9-2 record. It’s only other loss was to third-ranked Ferndale 29-28 in overtime in October.
Ferndale (11-0) defeated Bethel 42-14 this weekend and will challenge top-ranked and defending champion Eastside Catholic in the next round.
Bellevue 42, Oak Harbor 7
The Wolverines dominated Saturday’s game from the beginning, scoring in their first two possessions. After that, the Oak Harbor defense settled in and kept Bellevue out of the end zone for the remainder of the half. The Wolverines added a defensive touchdown in the second period on a fumble return for a 21-0 halftime lead.
Bellevue’s offense began to roll again after the break, tallying twice in the third quarter. Another score early in the final period set the running clock in motion.
The Wolverine defense limited Oak Harbor to 137 yards of offense. The Wildcats came into the game averaging more than 350 yards per contest.
“We could not get anything going offensively,” Oak Harbor coach Jay Turner said. “They were very big, physical and fast.”
After Bellevue’s final score, TJ Hollins-Passmore returned the ensuing kickoff 93 yards for the Wildcats, setting up Taeson Hardin’s 3-yard TD run. Eric Closson kicked the extra point.
Hollins-Passmore was Oak Harbor’s leading rusher wth 42 yards on eight carries. Mac Nuanez, who was averaging more than 100 yards per game, was held to 29 yards on 11 runs. Aaron Martinez’s 18-yard run was the Wildcats’ biggest play; he had one more carry for five yards.
Jordan Bell completed four passes to four different receivers for 25 yards.
“I thought the season went great,” Turner said. “We had a lot of exciting games and a great group of seniors. This group was a lot of fun to coach. While we lacked a true superstar, we had a team full of great football players. Definitely one my favorite senior groups to come through OHHS.”
Turner also noted that the game was the final one for assistant coach Tom Mueller. Mueller is retiring this year after 40 years of teaching and 33 years of coaching football.
“He will be missed,” Turner said.