OK, it’s official.
Scott Gunther cannot surprise Olympia High School football coach Bill Beattie any further.
He took a screen pass 35 yards into the end zone with 1 minute, 10 seconds remaining to deal the final knockout blow to No. 9 Bellarmine Prep for a 49-42 victory on Friday at Ingersoll Stadium.
"I was just pumped," Gunther said of finding the end zone. "I got hit right away and I bounced off it and it was wide open from there. Good blocking down field."
It was his sixth touchdown of the game.
Gunther came into this game with bonkers numbers so far this season – he now has 617 rushing yards and 16 total touchdowns in three games.
He finished this one with 400 all-purpose yards, including 217 rushing yards, an 89-yard kick return for a touchdown and the final 35-yard TD reception.
"If he’s not the state player of the week this week, I don’t know who is," Beattie said from inside a raucous Bears locker room.
But Bellarmine kept punching back.
Gunther pushed Olympia’s lead to 41-28 when he broke five tackles on an 89-yard kick return for a score.
Bellarmine answered with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Christian Moore to Thomas Connelly on the final play of the third quarter. It came one play after an Olympia pass-interference penalty kept the drive alive on fourth-and-11.
Bellarmine then got two rare stops, forcing a pair of punts defensively to set the Lions up at their own 9 with less than five minutes remaining.
Moore orchestrated an 89-yard TD drive, which included Matt Money’s 38-yard run to set Moore up for his second one-yard TD plunge, diving over the Olympia line.
That put Bellarmine ahead 42-41 after the extra point – the Lions’ first lead of the game.
Olympia started its final offensive drive from its own 43.
Beattie said he planned on dialing up a pass to his tight end. But he changed the call to get Gunther out in the flat.
"We decided to run Scott out there and give them something we hadn’t shown before," Beattie said. "Obviously, he’s a playmaker. Just get the ball in his hands."
Gunther bounced off two tacklers, ran through two more arm tackles and found the end zone with 1:10 to play.
"There was a whole new life after they scored," Gunther said. "And I knew we needed to score. I was ready."
Olympia improved to 3-0 with the win, and 3-0 in 4A South Puget Sound League play, which took in Bellarmine, Olympia and South Kitsap from a now-extinct 4A Narrows League.
It also enacted some revenge from last year, when Bellarmine won, 16-13, in overtime – with Gunther sidelined with a shoulder injury.
"I think I lost about 10 years off my life this game," Beattie said.
Gunther also missed the Bellarmine game his sophomore year beacuse of a broken collarbone.
"What an incredible high school football game,” Bellarmine coach Brian Jensen said. “Both teams were competing and playing hard, both teams are well-coached and Gunther is a heck of a football player. All the credit to him."
Moore was 21-of-31 passing for 271 yards for Bellarmine (2-1). Money ran for 169 yards and two touchdowns.
Bellarmine’s final drive ended on Moore’s incomplete pass on fourth-and-9 from Bellarmine’s 46 with 28 seconds remaining.
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677
O – Scott Gunther 36 run (Skyler Davis kick)
BP – Matt Money 9 run (Bryce Bendixen kick)
O – Corbin Hartsock 69 pass from Ketner Young (Davis kick)
BP – Money 16 run (Bendixen kick)
O – Gunther 39 run (Davis kick)
O – Gunther 14 run (Davis kick)
BP – Money 32 run (Bendixen kick)
O – Gunther 7 run (kick failed)
BP – Christian Moore 1 run (Bendixen kick)
O – Gunther 89 kick return (Davis kick)
BP – Connelly 25 pass from Moore (Bendixen kick)
BP – Moore 1 run (Bendixen kick)
O – Gunther 35 pass from Young (Hartsock pass from Young)
RUSHING – BP: Matt Money 23-169; Czarshay Thomas 5-15; Christian Moore 10-(-50). Olympia: Scott Gunther 28-217.
PASSING – BP: Christian Moore 21-31-0-271. Olympia: Ketner Young 8-11-0-144.
RECEIVING – Christian Brown 9-126; Thomas Connelly 8-87; Sam Behnke 1-27; Matt Money 2-18; Dominic Golob 1-13. Olympia: Corbin Hartsock 1-69; Scott Gunther 1-35; Cody Barnett 2-16.