Fourth quarter collapse dooms Wolves against Shelton

Chris Hutcherson was stellar in the return game on an otherwise forgettable evening for the Wolves. - Jim Robertson photo
Chris Hutcherson was stellar in the return game on an otherwise forgettable evening for the Wolves.
— image credit: Jim Robertson photo

Somehow, almost in spite of itself, South Kitsap had managed to make just enough big plays to outweigh its mistakes in building an 18-13 lead over Shelton.

But the big plays dried up and the mistakes didn't as the Highclimbers scored 15 points in the final 5:47 of the game to hand the visiting Wolves a 28-18 loss in Narrows League action on Friday night.

"We just made too many mistakes," SK Coach D.J. Sigurdson said. "And we made them at the worst possible times. We're a young team and that's going to happen sometimes. It's what killed us last week and it happened again this week."

The loss drops South Kitsap to 1-3 on the season following an unblemished regular season a year ago. The Wolves only victory came in the opening game of the season in a non-league contest against a visiting team from British Columbia.

"It's tough," Sigurdson said, "But we'll just have to fight our way through it."

The Wolves scored all of their points in the first half on three touchdowns and three failed extra-point tries.

The final tally came on Chris Hutcherson's 45-yard punt return for a touchdown with 2:37 remaining in the half to put the Wolves on top 18-6.

And when the SK defense forced the Highclimbers to punt with 43 seconds remaining in the half, it appeared the Wolves would go into intermission with momentum.

But rather than simply running out the clock, South Kitsap looked to pad its lead -- with disastrous results.

Junior quarterback Aaron La Deaux, alternating once again with senior Tanner Romo, fumbled the snap, recovered it himself and rolled to his right looking for a receiver, only to be sacked.

Even worse, La Deaux again coughed up the ball and this time Shelton's Thomas Gettle gathered it in and scampered untouched 50 yards for a touchdown.

The extra point made it 18-13 with just seven seconds remaining in the half.

"That was just a killer there," Sigurdson said. "It's just a case of a kid trying to make a play. It changed the whole complexion of the game. That's the kind of thing that's been happening to us all season long."

Hutcherson appeared to have the equalizer when he returned the opening kickoff of the second half 60 yards for a touchdown, but the score was nullified by a holding penalty.

After a scoreless third quarter, the Wolves turned generous almost immediately in the fourth, muffing a punt and handing possession back to Shelton at the SK 46 with 10:56 left to play.

The Highclimbers responded with an 11-play drive highlighted a fourth-down conversion from the Wolves' 14-yard-line on a keeper by quarterback Ryan Adams.

Two plays later, Adams bulled over from the two to give Shelton its first lead of the night, and a two-point conversion made it 21-18 with 5:49 to play.

Dominic Boddie returned the ensuing kickoff to the SK 48 and rushed for five more on the first play of the drive. But La Deaux's pass on the next play was intercepted by the Highclimbers' Aaron Roaf, who returned it to the South Kitsap 45 yard line.

From there, it took only three plays for Shelton to score again, with running back Jacob Barrett weaving his way through the SK secondary for a 40-yard, game-clinching touchdown.

"We knew (Shelton) was going to come out run-heavy, and they did," Sigurdson said. "We did a pretty good job of stopping them in the first half. But when you turn the ball over, your defense is out there for a long time, and they get tired. When that happens, you make mistakes."

The Wolves return home next week to face Gig Harbor.

at Shelton 28, South Kitsap 18

South Kitsap 12 6 0 0 -- 18

Shelton 0 13 0 15 -- 28

Scoring Summary

First Quarter

SK- Bauman 12 run (run failed)

SK- La Deaux 10 pass from Meisner (run failed)

Second Quarter

SHEL- Gettle 1 run (kick failed)

SK- Hutcherson 45 punt return (PAT failed)

SHEL- Gettle 50 fumble return (Strand kick)

Fourth Quarter

SHEL- Adams 2 run (2 PAT)

SHEL- Barrett 40 run (Strand Kick)

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