Football: Olympia's running attack grounds down Wolves

South Kitsap running back Michael Neiner plows ahead on a sloppy field on Friday in the Wolves’ loss to Olympia. - Jeff Rhodes/Staff Photo
South Kitsap running back Michael Neiner plows ahead on a sloppy field on Friday in the Wolves’ loss to Olympia.
— image credit: Jeff Rhodes/Staff Photo

The number seven is anything but heavenly for South Kitsap’s offense.

For a third consecutive week, the Wolves were limited to one offensive touchdown in a 27-17 loss Friday against Olympia at Joe Knowles Field.

South (1-2), which fell below .500 for the first time since holding an identical record in 2007, made some offensive changes entering the game. Perhaps the most notable one was junior Eddie Meisner, who started at quarterback last week at Tahoma, shifting to fullback.

“We’re trying to take a little pressure off the offense,” South coach D.J. Sigurdson said. “We’ve really struggled at that position and we need someone there to make plays.”

But the offense — at least based on production — did not seem to be impacted. South produced 143 rushing yards, but averaged just 3.7 yards per carry. In an effort to stimulate the offense, wide receiver Isaiah Davis had 28 yards on six carries.

“It felt good,” Davis said. “They put me at different spots and just see where I can help the team.”

The Wolves’ run defense, a strength during the first two weeks, was lax against Olympia. It began with a 23-yard touchdown run by junior Nate Slosson early in the second quarter and never subsided. The Bears finished with 300 rushing yards and averaged 6.8 yards per carry. Junior Anthony Parks had a team-high 183 yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries.

“Their kids made plays,” Sigurdson said. “They broke a lot of tackles. There were a lot of yards after contact.”

Despite that, South appeared to be in a favorable position for most of the game. A 20-yard field goal by junior Aaron La Deaux with a second left in the second quarter gave the Wolves a 10-7 lead into halftime.

“I thought we had a little momentum coming into halftime,” Sigurdson said.

But two series highlighted South’s offensive inconsistency in the second and third periods and likely changed the complexion of the game. The first one was set up by a 22-yard punt return by senior Chris Hutcherson that gave the Wolves possession at the Olympia 27-yard line. Three plays later, Davis took a pass from junior quarterback Aaron La Deaux before fumbling it away inside the Bears’ 10.

The next opportunity came during the third quarter when Davis recovered a ball that was misplayed by Olympia’s punt returner at the Bears’ 20. But South was penalized on first down and eventually had to settle for a 39-yard field-goal attempt by La Deaux that was wide left.

While the Wolves failed to capitalize on their opportunities, the Bears (2-1) eventually did. A blocked punt gave them possession at South’s 37. Two plays later, Parks scored on a 34-yard touchdown with 7:22 left in the fourth quarter. The extra point was blocked by Davis, but Olympia still led 20-10.

The Bears then intercepted senior quarterback Tanner Romo to take over at the Wolves’ 45. Parks, who finished with a game-high 156 yards on 12 carries, capped that 10-play drive with a 13-yard touchdown run with 1:12 remaining.

Davis then responded by returning the kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown, but Olympia recovered an onside kick and was able to run out the clock.

Sigurdson was asked if some of the struggles are related to the turnover in his coaching staff during the offseason. Marcus Logue, Ron Ness, Jay Powers and Derek Sparks all left the team. Logue, Ness and Powers took positions in different school districts.

“It might have a little bit to do with the bumps in the road,” Sigurdson said.

The last time the Wolves had a 1-2 mark, they went on to win five straight games. And while taking a step toward that Friday at Shelton is feasible as the Highclimbers have a 1-19 combined record the last two years, Sigurdson said the team’s current record is tough on his players.

“It’s hard for the kids,” he said. “They’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do and worked hard.”

Olympia 27, at South Kitsap 17

Olympia 0 7 7 10 — 27

South Kitsap 0 10 0 7 — 17

Second Quarter

O: Nate Slosson 23 run (Keegan McMillan kick), 11:52

SK: Domonic Boddie 14 run (Aaron La Deaux kick), 6:05

SK: La Deaux 20 FG, 0:01

Third Quarter

O: Anthony Parks 73 run (McMillan kick), 9:30

Fourth Quarter

O: Parks 34 run (kick blocked), 7:22

O: Parks 13 run (McMillan kick), 1:12

SK: Isaiah Davis 86 kickoff return (La Deaux kick), 0:59

Individual statistics

Passing: Trevor Houser (O) 2-7-24-0; Tanner Romo (SK) 3-7-19-1; Aaron La Deaux (SK) 2-2-23-0.

Rushing: Spenser Killman (O) 17-70; Tyler Spice (O) 1-3; Steven Malapeal (O) 1-3; Gabe Padukiewicz (O) 1-14; Slosson (O) 4-25; Houser (O) 6--7; Parks (O) 13-183; Griffin Boudia (O) 1-9; Michael Neiner (SK) 19-79; Davis (SK) 6-28; Eddie Meisner (SK) 3-5; Chas Bauman (SK) 5-12; Boddie (SK) 3-23; Romo (SK) 2--4; Kaleb Nelson (SK) 1-0.

Receiving: Spice (O) 1-13; Slosson (O) 1-11; Davis (SK) 3-16; Austin Levi Cook (SK) 1-18; Meisner (SK) 1-8.

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