Surprising no one, the Bellevue West Thunderbirds varsity football team is off to a 1-0 start after blowing out Omaha Burke at home Aug. 26.
Both teams entered Thursday night with a ton of energy. It was the first game of the high school football season and these two teams have been going back and forth on Twitter all offseason. The first quarter began as a dog fight, as Bellevue West got the ball first and senior running back LJ Richardson punched in a short run for six points, a trend that turned out to be quite popular on Thursday.
With a 7-0 lead, the T-Birds took advantage of a miscue from Burke's special teams and managed a safety after their long snapper threw one through the back of the end zone. Burke finally got on the board and after the first quarter the T-Birds held only a 16-7 lead. But the second quarter was when Bellevue West turned it up a notch. They scored three more touchdowns before halftime and held a 37-14 lead with only two quarters remaining.
Bellevue West’s defense took over in the second half and, after shutting out Burke’s offense for the last two quarters, the T-Birds would end up winning 58-14. Richardson ran for an eye-popping 146 yards on 21 carries and finished with four touchdowns. Starting quarterback Luke Johannsen was eight for 16 passing with 142 yards, two touchdowns and one interception while backup gunslinger Daniel Kaelin went seven for 11 for 120 yards and one touchdown as well.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the T-Birds game one win was the impact and efficiency of their passing game. Five different receivers managed to record at least one catch with the always dangerous sophomore Dae’Vonn Hall leading the way with four receptions, 131 yards and two touchdowns stemming from big plays.
For yet another year, head coach Mike Huffman and company begin the season with a 1-0 record and targets on their backs as one of the best teams in the state. Bellevue West’s next contest will be the Battle for Bellevue as they play the Chieftains from Bellevue East on the road this Friday.