At 5-foot-9, 150 pounds, junior Bryce Bendixen is the smallest regular on the Bellarmine Prep football roster.
And he came through in the biggest moment Friday night.
The Lions’ placekicker rifled a 34-yard field goal through the uprights in overtime, handing the Lions a 16-13 victory over eighth-ranked Olympia at Memorial Field in Tacoma.
Bellarmine Prep’s wins sets up an all-or-nothing showdown with Gig Harbor next week for the No. 1 seed from the 4A Narrows League to the West Central District playoffs.
“You know, this is exciting. This was our third overtime game,” Lions coach Brian Jensen said. “Our guys play for four quarters – or for whatever it takes.”
The Bears had plenty of chances, especially on their final, 17-play march to the Lions’ 13. But it ended with Ahmad Lewis’ interception in the end zone with 2:01 to go.
Lewis nearly gave the game to the Bears when he backtracked on a run, stepping into his own end zone twice before getting to the Bellarmine Prep 1-yard line.
And against a heavy rush, Bendixen was able to get off a punt with 19 seconds remaining.
Olympia had the football first in overtime, but coughed it up when fullback Clay Markoff fumbled near the goal-line. Isaiah Conner recovered it for the Lions.
“We couldn’t get out of own way,” Olympia coach Bill Beattie said. “In big games like this, you can’t make those kinds of mistakes we made tonight.”
Facing a fourth-and-3 from the Bears’ 18, Bendixen was called on for the field goal attempt.
Olympia first iced him with a timeout.
Then his own team did by bringing the offense back on the field to try to get the Bears to go offside to get the 5 yards needed for a first down.
“I knew I had to stay warm,” Bendixen said.
And what was going through his mind a few seconds before making his game-winning field goal?
“I was thinking, ‘This is exactly like practice,’” Bendixen said. “It was nothing different.”
The Bears outgained Bellarmine Prep, 380-197.
Lewis finished with 92 yards on 30 carries and a touchdown.
At Capital 49, North Thurston 7: Zach Smith caught five passes for the Cougars — four of them were touchdowns.
Smith finished with 163 yards, and also returned the opening kickoff 97 yards. His four receiving touchdowns tied Capital’s program record.
And Smith wasn’t the only one to tie a record. Quarterback Cody Jenkins tossed 9 of 14 for 270 yards and five touchdowns — which tied the passing record.
This was Jenkins’ second game back after missing the first six weeks with an injury to his right index finger.
"It makes a big difference," Capital coach JD Johnson said. "The whole team had a lot more energy and excitement tonight coming out."
Capital (3-5, 3-3 3A Narrows) has not lost since his return.
"It’s a matter of getting hot and getting going, and forgetting everything in the past," Johnson said. "We’re stepping forward from here on out."
If Capital wins at Shelton (5-3, 4-2) next week, and Central Kitsap (4-4, 4-2) loses to Wilson, the Cougars will be enter a three-way tie for third place in the 3A Narrows.
At Puyallup 24, Timberline 21: The Blazers closed in on the Vikings in the fourth quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run by Conner Crump with 7:23 to play, but couldn’t cut it any closer.
Timberline (2-6, 2-3 4A Narrows) took a 14-7 lead in the second quarter on a 93-yard kickoff return by Chris Barnes. But Puyallup’s three touchdowns before halftime proved too much.
At Shelton 24, Mount Tahoma 6: Tailback Colton Paller threw for a score, ran for another and rushed for 135 yards in a victory at Highclimber Stadium.
At Eatonville 48, Elma 35: Three third-quarter touchdowns by the Cruisers broke open a close game, and Eatonville kept its playoff hopes alive with a victory at B.W Lyon Field.
Tucker Poil’s 72-yard scoring scamper highlighted the offensive outburst. Eatonville led 35-21 after three quarters.
Staff writer Lauren Smith contributed to this report.