Bothell getting national-TV treatment as ESPN coming to Pop Keeney

The Cougars’ game against Mullen of Denver will be broadcast on ESPNU on Friday night.

For a quick second, Bothell’s playbook was in jeopardy.

Football coach Tom Bainter was speaking at a conference in Orlando when an attendee approached him and asked what the Cougars do offensively and defensively. Bainter was speechless.

“I didn’t look at his shirt,” said Bainter of the clue it was Mullen coach Tom Thenell’s playful way of introducing himself. The programs scheduled a game against each other through a mutual friend and hadn’t met until the winter conference.

“He quickly said he was joking and we laughed,” Bainter said.

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Sharing Bothell’s strategies with Thenell likely wouldn’t make a difference. The coaches describe their teams as similar, which could make for good programming. No. 9 Bothell will host Mullen at Pop Keeney Stadium on Friday and the game will air live on ESPNU at 7 p.m.

“It’s quite scary,” said Thenell of the similarities he spotted by watching film of Bothell. “We do a lot of the same things on offense and defense, but with out-of-state games, it’s very difficult to gauge the level.”

Mullen is a private Catholic school of about 800 students located in Denver. It’s won eight championships in school history, the last in 2010. The Mustangs were 9-3 last season, losing in the state semifinals.

Like Bothell, Mullen likes to pass. This is just the 10th game for junior quarterback Dominic Depizzol. He didn’t play football as a youth and suffered a left knee injury in Week 5 last year.

Depizzol mirrors Bothell senior quarterback Jacob Sirmon in passing yards (887 to 808). Sirmon, a University of Washington commit, has thrown seven touchdown passes and three interceptions in Bothell’s 2-1 start. Depizzol has 11 touchdown passes and six interceptions for Mullen (2-2).

“We threw him into the fire,” Thenell said of Depizzol. “And in any situation, you point at him and he can handle it.”

Because of Mullen’s noted offense, Bainter is glad his defense is starting to click. Junior cornerback Darius Kubalanza didn’t allow a single pass completion on his side of the field in a 34-27 win against Skyline last week. Bothell senior fullback Jaelen Percival and junior defensive lineman Gage Potter are also making an impact, Bainter said.

“They play on grass, so it’s hard to tell speed,” Bainter said of…

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