Football: South Kitsap cannot stop run in season-ending loss

South Kitsap quarterback Tanner Romo looks for a receiver in the Wolves’ season-ending loss to Lincoln on Friday night in Tacoma. - Jeff Rhodes/Staff Photo
South Kitsap quarterback Tanner Romo looks for a receiver in the Wolves’ season-ending loss to Lincoln on Friday night in Tacoma.
— image credit: Jeff Rhodes/Staff Photo

The Wing-T offense provides little mystery.

There occasionally is some deception through read-option plays, but almost every play involves the run.

Despite that, South Kitsap found little success stopping it in a 26-13 season-ending loss Friday at Class 3A Narrows League opponent Lincoln.

The Abes finished their year with a 5-5 record, while the Wolves’ 3-7 mark is their worst since 1977. It is only South’s second losing season during that span.

“I don’t ever want a season like this again,” South junior quarterback Eddie Meisner said.

Both teams struggled early as they combined to turn the ball over in three of their first four possessions. But the Wolves finally were able to move the ball on their third series as Meisner, who split time with senior starter Tanner Romo, helped the offense pick up three first downs on passing plays. The nine-play series ended when senior fullback Adrian Cardinal scored on a 4-yard run to give South a 7-0 lead with 4 minutes, 42 seconds left in the first quarter.

It would be the Wolves’ only points of the first half.

After being held scoreless on its first three possessions, Lincoln scored on both of its second-quarter possessions. Emmanuel Thompkins found the end zone on 44- and 13-yard runs. He finished with 124 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries.

“That’s like our fourth-string fullback we’ve found,” Lincoln coach Mike Merrill said. “We’ve had injuries and injuries and injuries.”

The Abes threw the ball just four times, but did not need to show much diversity with their offense. They finished with 300 yards on 47 carries.

“If you can’t stop the run, you can’t win,” Sigurdson said. “We knew their kids were going to play hard. They just pushed us around.”

It did not stop there as Thompkins scored on a 5-yard runs in the third and fourth periods to extend Lincoln’s lead to 26-7 with 10:42 left.

The Wolves responded on their next play from scrimmage when Meisner, who completed 7 of 17 passes for 158 yards and had an interception, saw junior Aaron La Deaux open and connected with him for a 69-yard touchdown pass.

South could not convert on fourth down during its next two possessions as time expired.

“I’m going to go to a lot of camps to try and get better,” Meisner said. “We’ve got to get better as a team.”

Lincoln defeated the Wolves for the first time since 2004 to end a four-game losing streak in the series. The Abes have won just two of their last 22 games against South.

But that was not the only reason why the victory was meaningful to Merrill. He and Sigurdson were assistants under Ed Fisher in 1993-94 before Merrill became the first coach at Auburn Riverside. Merrill since has coached at Mount Rainier and Lake Washington.

“It was a special win for the team,” said Merrill, who improved to 1-1 against the Wolves. “They’re legendary. I aspire to get our program up to that level some day.”

After finishing 10-1 last year, South was hindered by injuries throughout this season. The Wolves’ top two running backs to open the season, senior Michael Neiner and junior Dominic Boddie, did not play in the finale. Neiner missed much of the season, while Boddie sustained a concussion in a 31-16 loss Oct. 29 at Central Kitsap.

“It’s been a challenge,” Sigurdson said. “That’s kind of how life is. We’ll be back.”

At Lincoln 26, South Kitsap 13

South Kitsap 7 0 0 6 - 13

Lincoln 0 12 8 6 - 26

First Quarter

SK: Adrian Cardinal 4 run (Aaron La Deaux kick), 4:42

Second Quarter

L: Emmanuel Thompkins 44 run (pass failed), 7:12

L: Thompkins 13 run (pass failed), 1:11

Third Quarter

L: Thompkins 5 run (Richard Johnson), 9:39

Fourth Quarter

L: Thompkins (run failed), 10:42

SK: La Deaux 69 pass from Eddie Meisner (pass failed), 10:10

Individual statistics

Passing: Tanner Romo (SK) 7-15-58-0; Meisner (SK) 7-17-158-1; Johnson (L) 3-4-59-0.

Rushing: Cardinal (SK) 10-22; Romo (SK) 5--17; Meisner (SK) 3--8; Adam Gascoyne (SK) 3-10; Jens Johnson (SK) 2-4; Chas Bauman (SK) 3-2; Anthony Williams (SK) 2-24; Thompkins (L) 23-124; Anthony Davis (L) 16-85; Julius Colwash (L) 4-67; Johnson (L) 3-22; Riel Padron (L) 1-2.

Receiving: Isaiah Davis (SK) 6-71; Brian Chester (SK) 1-12; Kaleb Nelson (SK) 2-25; Chris Hutcherson (SK) 3-27; La Deaux (SK) 1-69; Gascoyne (SK) 1-12; Thompkins (L) 3-59.

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