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Bellevue emerges from matchup of 3A heavyweights with 21-17 WIAA semifinal win over O'Dea, 3 takeaways

Carson Rubin plunges in with the game-winning 1-yard score with six minutes to go at Memorial Stadium
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SEATTLE - Carson Rubin couldn’t have done much more.

Rubin, the senior running back, scored the game-winning touchdown on a 1-yard plunge with 5:56 remaining as sixth-seeded Bellevue upended second-seeded O’Dea, 21-17. on Saturday in the Class 3A state semifinals at Memorial Stadium.

Rubin finished with 170 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 25 carries as the Wolverines (11-2) moved into a state title game for the 13th time and will attempt bring home the school’s 12th crown.

Bellevue meets the No. 4 Eastside Catholic-No. 1 Yelm winner in the Class 3A state championship game Friday at 7 p.m. at Husky Stadium.

But first, the Wolverines were able to clear the difficult hurdle of getting past a bigger, physical Irish team.

“We know now what our offense and what our defense can do, and this game solidified that we can stop the run and that we knew what to do,” said Rubin, the 5-foot-9, 180-pounder who missed more than half the season with a torn abdominal muscle before returning in the postseason. “We’re coming into next week and we have two physical teams we might face. We’ve just got to play our game.”

On the game-winning drive, Rubin started things with a 45-yard run over the right side and seven plays later the Wolverines had covered 75 yards in 3:11 and had erased a 17-14 Irish lead.

Bellevue wrapped up the victory when JJ Pendergast knocked down a desperation pass to the left by Anton Araujo to Jason Brown Jr. out of the backfield on fourth-and-8 from the Bellevue 42-yard line.

The Wolverines took over there with 1:30 to go, and then after three O’Dea timeouts and three Lucas Razore quarterback kneeldowns, the game was theirs.

O'Dea (11-1) couldn't quite get rolling on offense and ended its season with the first loss of 2023. Senior Jason Brown Jr., ranked the No. 1 running back for the class of 2024 in Washington state by, wasn’t allowed to run wild and finished with 90 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.

"There was some opportunities I missed running the ball," Brown Jr. said. "There were some opportunities with our defense where we missed tackles in the hole. A guy slipped through and would get more than he should’ve."

Max Jones powered over the left side for a 7-yard touchdown run with 5:30 remaining in the third quarter as Bellevue took a 14-7 lead. The score came on the Wolverines’ first possession of the second half, driving 67 yards in nine plays and 4:39.

O’Dea had another response as Christian Winn blasted in for 2-yard touchdown with 1:55 showing in the third quarter to knot the game at 14-14. That score capped a 3:35 drive that ate up 80 yards in eight plays.

The Irish went in front 17-14 on Owen Livingston’s 29-yard field goal that just went inside the right upright with 9:14 to go.

Bellevue collected its 11th counting state title in 2021, beating Kennewick 17-13 in the 3A championship.

Here are three takeaways from the game:



The Wolverines’ big-time running back, Rubin, felt pain in his stomach area after running for 225 yards and three touchdowns (adding a fourth with a touchdown catch) in Week 2’s tough 34-31 loss against Lake Stevens on Sept. 8.

That pain didn’t go away and Rubin missed the next six games to let the injury heal.

“Coming off Lake Stevens, I was feeling a little bit of pain and thought I was just sore and tight, but it turned out I tore my (lower) ab,” Rubin said. “I was out for the entire regular season [after that] and came back for the first playoff game. Right now, as a senior, I just have to take advantage of every rep I’m getting.

“I’ve got to have that mentality.”

Rubin doesn’t remember sitting out that much ever in his playing career.

“I’ve never had an injury like this in my life,” he said. “I’ve gotten banged up, but it was the first game I’ve ever sat out and I had to do that for six weeks. You know, it was definitely tough, but I settled down and got OK with it, I just realized I’ve got to make the most of what time I have left.”

Coming back was a challenge at first.

“It was a little bit scary to see how fragile it might be,” Rubin said. “But I’ve had no problems. I’m still running hard and doing my thing."



Brown Jr., who is a coveted recruit for the Class of 2024 and looks to be down to Washington and Oregon for his college choice, was seen after the game congratulating members of the Bellevue team, including coach Michael Kneip.

It was a true representation of Brown Jr.’s class.

"I feel like everybody brought their 'A' game today,” Brown Jr. said of his teammates. "At the end of the day, there’s a winner and a loser in every contest. We were just on the losing end of it. Bellevue’s disciplined and they fire off the ball. They did a good job of pursuit and filled up any gaps pretty quick (on defense)."

But Brown Jr. was also emotional when he realized he’d played his final game with his teammates at O’Dea.

"Some of these guys, I’ve been playing my whole life with," he said through tears. "This one’s going to hurt. It’s going to hurt for a little while. Our support system at O’Dea has been nothing but amazing. This has been the best experience of my life and this is something that I’ll never forget.

"People talk about brotherhood and they talk about the effects of it and they always talk about that you’ll never know how much this football experience here was until it’s gone. And now that the realization is setting in that this was the last time playing with these guys, I’m starting to feel it."



Turns out that Bellevue’s 0-2 start wasn’t quite as bad as some might have thought.

The Wolverines opened the season Sept. 2 with a 48-27 road loss to Central Catholic, Oregon's Class 6A champion from Portland. Then, came a blown lead and a 34-31 loss to Lake Stevens, which will defend its Class 4A title next week.

“After those first two weeks, people started doubting us,” Bellevue quarterback Lucas Razore said. “No one was paying attention to us, and it kind fueled the fire for us and we took every bit of hate and poured it out on the field.”

The improvement since those early-season losses has been strong.

“Running behind our O-line, there’s nothing better than that,” Razore said of his team’s Wing-T running game. “We’re incredibly dangerous and last week we had five guys who scored [at running back]. So, it’s really hard to prepare for us each week.

“If you try to stop one guy, we’ll hit you with another.”



Bellevue 7 0 7 7 - 21

O'Dea 7 0 7 3 - 17

B – Carson Rubin 2 run (Luke Scoma kick), 6:41 1Q

O – Jason Brown Jr. 14 run (Owen Livingston kick), 3:16 1Q

B – Max Jones 7 run (Scoma kick), 5:30 3Q

O – Christian Winn 2 run (Livingston kick), 1:55 3Q

O – FG, Livingston 29, 9:14 4Q

B – Rubin 1 run (Scoma kick), 5:56 4Q


Passing – Bellevue: Lucas Razore 1-2-0, 27 yards. O’Dea: Antone Araujo 1-3-0, 33 yards.

Rushing – Bellevue: Carson Rubin 25-170 yards, 2 TDs; Razore 3-minus-11; Max Jones 4-19, TD; Blake Teets 8-41; Ryken Moon 5-15; Bryce Smith 3-minus-1; Hogan Hansen 1-5. O’Dea: Jason Brown Jr. 20-90 yards, TD; Araujo 6-69; Quinn White 8-33; Christian Winn 5-59, TD.

Receiving – Bellevue: Moon 1-27 yards. O’Dea: Andrew Tran 1-33 yards.