OLYMPIA – Some would say it’s just another Week 3 non-league game, but for the Capital Cougars, they felt like it was December in the Tacoma Dome already.
The Capital High School student section stormed the field in a postgame celebration. The Capital players gave coach J.D. Johnson an ice bath after the scoreboard clock read zeros.
Johnson paused for a few seconds when asked where Capital’s 27-11 victory over Bothell on Friday night ranks in his six-year tenure as coach of the Cougars.
“This one is up there. … This one is definitely on top,” he said. “The last three weeks have been special.”
Second-ranked Capital (3-0) has put together an impressive run the first three weeks of the season. First was a 29-22 last-second victory over 4A Newport, then a 19-0 shutout of 4A Olympia in last week’s Spaghetti Bowl.
The trend continued Friday night at Ingersoll Stadium against another tough 4A program – Bothell, which had made the state playoffs five of the past six seasons, including back-to-back 4A state title game appearances in 2006 and ’07.
“We didn’t know what we’d get with these 4A schools,” Johnson said.
The trademark of the Capital Cougars against the Bothell Cougars was defense.
Capital’s run defense held Bothell to seven rushing plays with negative yardage. A big turning point was during Bothell’s second-to-last possession of the first half, with a 13-play drive that got inside the 1-yard line. Capital held Bothell to negative yardage on three of the next four plays, and Bothell went from a first-and-goal at the 1 to a fourth-and-19 after a quarterback Ross Bowers was sacked.
Capital held Darrin Laufasa, a BYU-bound running back, to 64 yards on 10 carries, and the only touchdown given up was a 7-yard run by Danny Wilson with 1 minute remaining in the third quarter that pulled Bothell (0-3) to 13-11.
After missing last week’s Spaghetti Bowl, Capital senior running back Kai Van Sickle dazzled. He rushed for 224 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. He had touchdown runs of 1 and 44 yards; the latter gave Capital a 20-11 lead with 9:08 remaining in the game. That was the second of two big rushes for Van Sickle; his 65-yard run on an option pitch from quarterback Derrick Becker set up his 1-yard touchdown in the third quarter that extended Capital’s halftime lead to 13-3.
Van Sickle said the camaraderie of the Capital team is a big reason why the 2A Cougars are 3-0 – all victories over 4A programs.
“We knew Bothell was going to be a dogfight,” Van Sickle said. “The first half says a lot. Coach Johnson had some wise words for us, and we put it together. We’re a team, and we play as a team.”
Capital begins its 2A Evergreen Conference schedule at Tumwater next Saturday at 7 p.m. before its final non-league game Sept. 28 against 4A Bellarmine Prep.
Johnson admitted he didn’t think his team would be 3-0 after three weeks.
“I expected us to compete and maybe have a chance to win. These kids are playing phenomenal right now. It’s been one heck of a ride.”firstname.lastname@example.org