The return of starting quarterback Mark Simmons from an early season injury has meant that Bellingham Bulldogs tailback and former Western Washington University star Brett Hall has seen a reduction in offensive touches since the season opener. However, with the Kitsap County Bears rallying to within two scores, the Bulldogs turned to the Birch Bay resident once again. Hall responded with big runs peppered into a wide open offensive display to catapult Bellingham to an overwhelming 63-27 win over Kitsap on July 10.
Hall finished the day with 117 yards on nine carries and one touchdown. Simmons fired five touchdowns in the lopsided win.
Bellingham took advantage of three Kitsap turnovers to race out to a 21-0 first half lead but then kept the Bears in the game for a quarter and a half by extending drives with four personal fouls. Led by halfback E. J. Ash, the Bulldogs closed to 21-14 with 1:12 remaining in the first half on Ash’s eight yard touchdown dash.
Bellingham retaliated with a quick drive after being bolstered by Eric Taylor’s 48-yard return on the ensuing kick-off. Two plays later, Simmons found Taylor over the middle for a 19-yard score with only 29 seconds in the half.
After extending the lead again to 35-14 on another Simmons touchdown pass, Kitsap again rallied. A 35-yard kick-off return by Ash and two more personal fouls led to Ash’s second score, a 13-yard scamper that closed the lead to 35-21. Ash had a remarkable afternoon, running wild out of the Bear’s sprint draws, amassing 213 yards rushing.
“He’s a great back,” said Hall who also started as defensive cornerback. “We had a tough time controlling our gaps.”
Bellingham reasserted themselves when Chase Cantrell scored from four yards out to make it 42-21. Then the game came to a staggering halt.
With 9:17 to play in the game and the outcome still in doubt, Hall got loose for a huge gain and appeared on the way to a touchdown when Kitsap linebacker Jacoby Square horse collared Hall after a 22-yard gain. As both players spun down, Square landed hard on Hall’s helmet, impacting his lower spine.
The injury, which required response from Whatcom County paramedics, delayed the game for more than 45 minutes. Square was transported to St. Joseph hospital where he was treated and released.
The injury seemed to siphon the fight out of the Bears. Hall scored from 15 yards out when play resumed, the first of three unanswered scores for the Bulldogs before Kitsap scored a final consolation touchdown with 5.9 seconds remaining.
The win left Bellingham undefeated on the season. Former Borderite star Sean Hicks finished the game with five tackles, despite receiving a serious cut to his mouth in the second quarter.