Sports

Football: Turnover, penalty-plagued South Kitsap downed by Tahoma

South Kitsap’ running back D’Aundray Van Slyke is corralled by a Tahoma tackler. - Dennis Box/Covington-Maple Valley Reporter
South Kitsap’ running back D’Aundray Van Slyke is corralled by a Tahoma tackler.
— image credit: Dennis Box/Covington-Maple Valley Reporter

Consider it a stalemate.

Offense 2. Defense 2.

That is the number of touchdowns South Kitsap has produced on both sides of the ball this season.

And while that was good enough to win their opener against British Columbia’s Vancouver College, the Wolves’ lack of offense proved too much to overcome in a 12-7 nonleague loss Friday at Tahoma.

“Way too many mistakes to overcome,” South coach D.J. Sigurdson said. “I don’t know how else to explain it.”

To pin the loss entirely on the offense would be disingenuous. The problems started on the Bears’ first possession when junior running back Beau Riggs appeared to be stopped one yard short on fourth-and-three. But a face-mask penalty put Tahoma down to the South Kitsap 18-yard, where they needed just three plays to score on a 1-yard run by Riggs to take a 6-0 lead with 9 minutes, 4 seconds left in the first quarter.

“The personal fouls weren’t discipline fouls,” Sigurdson said. “They were effort fouls. They’re just playing hard.”

But that is as complimentary as he would get about that facet of the game, where the Wolves were penalized eight times for 87 yards.

“We just need to get more consistent,” Sigurdson said. “We can’t worry about how we’re going to exploit this or that — we don’t even get off on snap count. We’re jumping off sides and fumbling the ball. We just need to reign it in and get first downs.”

Seemingly the only time South (1-1) was able to avoid that, it scored. Senior wide receiver Isaiah Davis snatched a 10-yard pass on third down from junior quarterback Eddie Meisner, broke a tackle and outran several Bears’ defenders for a 55-yard touchdown to give his team a 7-6 lead.

The Wolves had several opportunities to capitalize on that advantage. One came on the following possession by Tahoma (1-1) when punter Riley Owens threw a fourth-down pass that was intercepted by senior defensive back Chris Hutcherson. A face-mask penalty against the Bears gave South possession at the Tahoma 19-yard line. But the Wolves lost six yards during that possession and junior kicker Aaron La Deaux’s 42-yard field goal sailed lightly left of the goalpost.

But South might have held that lead — or extended it — without further mental errors during the second quarter. The first came the Bears faced a third-and-four at the Wolves’ 9. South jumped off sides and Tahoma used that to score its final touchdown three plays later on a 4-yard pass by senior quarterback Dallin Munk to junior tight end Barrett Weston. Tahoma’s two-point attempt failed on a run, but it extended its lead to 12-7.

Despite that, it appeared that the Wolves would recapture their edge before halftime. But one drive ended when Tahoma’s Jared Keeney stripped senior running back D’Aundray Van Slyke at the Bears’ 21. South then had another opportunity on its next drive when a 37-yard pass from senior Tanner Romo to Davis put the Wolves down to Tahoma’s 10 with about a minute left in the half. South then ran the ball three times before time expired on fourth down at the Bears’ 2.

“We were in great shape,” said Sigurdson, adding that he and his players lost some time because they thought Neiner scored on third down. “We were out of time outs because of mistakes earlier. It ultimately falls on me.”

The problems continued into the second half when passes by Romo on consecutive drives were dropped on third down. The second drop, which was in the end zone, was particularly difficult for the Wolves after a La Deaux punt bounced off Tahoma’s Jason Smith and was recovered by Davis at the Bears’ 10. Instead, La Deaux missed a 23-yard field goal after the drop and South came away with nothing.

“We’re getting the ball into the red zone,” Romo said. “Now we need to get it into the end zone.”

La Deaux then narrowly missed a third field goal on a 33-yard attempt later in the third quarter.

“He hits the ball really well,” Sigurdson said. “He’s just a little bit left or a little bit right. If we needed to kick another one, I would do it again.”

South’s final scoring opportunity came when it advanced to Tahoma’s 29 midway through the fourth quarter. But running back Michael Neiner, who finished with 143 yards on 23 carries, was not able to net any positive yardage on two carries and Romo overthrew junior running back Chas Bauman on third down. Romo then missed Davis on fourth down in the end zone and was intercepted by senior defensive back Brody Lundquist.

“We just had a miscommunication there,” Romo said. “He broke out and I threw it in. But you can’t bring one game down on one play.”

The Bears took over with 4:50 left and ran out the clock.

Now two weeks into the season, South enters Narrows League play Friday against perennial league power Olympia (1-1), which lost 49-28 on Friday against rival Capital, and without its quarterback dilemma resolved. Meisner completed 1 of 3 passes, while Romo was 3 for 9. Both finished with 55 yards. La Deaux’s one attempt was dropped by a receiver.

“That’s one position,” said Sigurdson, who has not determined which signal-caller will start against Olympia. “It’s not like they were responsible for everything that went on. We were just out of sync.”

This was the first time South was limited to single-digit points since a 42-6 loss in 2008 against Olympia.

Romo said the loss will provide further incentive for the Wolves to play well.

“We’re going to be gunning for them,” he said. “This has ignited us.”

At Tahoma 12, South Kitsap 7

South Kitsap 7 0 0 0 - 7

Tahoma 6 6 0 0 - 12

First Quarter

T: Beau Riggs 1 run (kick failed), 9:04

SK: Isaiah Davis 55 pass from Eddie Meisner (Aaron La Deaux kick), 8:09

Second Quarter

T: Barrett Weston 4 pass from Dallin Munk (run failed), 7:36

Individual statistics

Passing

SK: Eddie Meisner 1-3-55-0; Tanner Romo 3-9-55-1; Aaron La Deaux 0-1-0-0. T: Riley Owens 0-0-0-1; Dallin Munk 3-4-29-0.

Rushing

SK: Michael Neiner 23-143; Meisner 1--3; D’Aundray Van Slyke 2-12; Romo 1-3; Chas Bauman 6-38; Dominic Boddie 1--1; Jens Johnson 2-9; Kaleb Nelson 1-3. T: Zach Browne 17-52; Tim Ota 2-2; Beau Riggs 17-74; Caleb Holloway 3-21; Riley Owens 4-8; Justin Ross 1-2; Munk 1--1.

Receiving

SK: Isaiah Davis 3-110; Nelson 1-8. T: Riggs 2-25; Barrett Weston 1-4.

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