Photo courtesy of Don Borin/Stop Action Photography Mercer Island wide receiver Cole Miller hauls in a 73-yard reception from quarterback Nikhil Nayar in the second quarter of play. Bellevue defeated Mercer Island 40-7 on Oct. 13.

Wolverines defeat Islanders in rivalry contest on gridiron

Bellevue Wolverines senior running back Isaiah Ifanse was an unstoppable force against the Mercer Island Islanders in a Class 3A KingCo rivalry matchup.

Ifanse scored five rushing touchdowns, propelling the Wolverines to a 40-7 victory against the Islanders on Oct. 13 in Mercer Island. Bellevue kicker Jed Michael connected on two field goals (30 yards, 44 yards) in the win. Bellevue improved its overall record to 6-1 with the win while Mercer Island dropped to 4-2. Mercer Island’s lone touchdown of the night occurred with 10:45 left in the second quarter. Mercer Island senior quarterback Nikhil Nayar hit receiver Henry Weiker on a 7-yard touchdown strike over the middle, cutting Bellevue’s lead to 9-7. Two plays earlier Nayar connected with wide receiver Cole Miller on a 73-yard catch and run to advance the offense to Bellevue’s 7-yard line. Bellevue head coach Mark Landes knew the Nayer/Miller combination was dynamic coming into the game.

“He has got a big arm,” Landes said of Nayar. “Cole Miller can flat out fly. We had to know where he was all the time.”

Islanders assistant coach Ronnie Allen expects his team to get back on track in the final two regular season games of the 2017 season. Mercer Island, who is in the thick of the playoff hunt, will face Lake Washington on Oct. 20 and Juanita on Oct. 27.

“Our kids fought hard and our kids loved playing in this game. That’s a great team. Hats off to their coaching staff and all their players,” Allen said of Bellevue. “It prepares us for the playoffs and it will make us better. We’re a playoff team. We’ll go into practice next week knowing what we need to work on. We’re going to take it to Juanita and Lake Washington to end season and have a great playoff run.”

Landes said Mercer Island’s defensive line was a formidable group.

“Our (offensive) line really stepped up. Mercer Island was really tough. No. 55 (Jaeden Pritchard) is a heck of a player. They gave us some challenges and we had to rise up,” Landes said.

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