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Football: South Kitsap suffers devastating loss at Gig Harbor
GIG HARBOR — He was in no mood to be introspective.
For South Kitsap coach D.J. Sigurdson, it was not a question of whether Friday night’s second-half meltdown in a 30-20 loss against Gig Harbor at Roy Anderson Field was the worst of his career.
That is a debate he will eschew to others. But after his team turned the ball over three times and allowed 23 unanswered points in the final 24 minutes of the contest, Sigurdson acknowledged it was one of the worst setbacks of his 15-year tenure.
“It was very painful,” he said. “We’ve got our work cut out for us to recover from that.”
The schedule likely will not provide any favors with doing so. The Wolves host No. 2 Bellarmine Prep (5-0 overall, 3-0 league) at 7 p.m. Friday. Behind quarterback Sefo Liufau, the Lions are averaging 48 points per game. No other Class 4A Narrows League team averages close to 30. The Lions also allow fewer points per game (7.4) than any other team in the league.
It also is a crucial game in terms of playoff positioning as only four 4A Narrows teams advance to the state play-in game. Last year’s fourth-place team in the league, Central Kitsap, had three league losses. That means South (3-2, 1-2) might need to win its final four regular-season games to guarantee a playoff spot.
“It sets us way back,” Sigurdson said. “We can’t even think about that right now. We’ve got to be worrying about just getting better.”
That did not appear to be a concern as the Wolves dominated their 4A Narrows rival in the first half as they built a 20-7 lead at the intermission. Adam Gascoyne and Dominic Boddie combined for all three touchdowns and helped South rush for 213 yards in the first half.
The Tides (3-2, 2-1) also turned the ball over four times during the first half — once on a fumble by running back Jake Ayers that was recovered by South defensive lineman Devon Newquist at the Wolves’ 12-yard line. Quarterback Garrett Gallinger also was intercepted three times in the opening half. Cornerback Bryce Broome had two in the first half.
Given all of the turnovers, Gig Harbor coach Darren McKay said his team was fortunate to only trail by 13 points at halftime.
“This is hard one because it’s a rival game and we were so dominant in the first half,” he said. “It could have been a wider differential.”
And while the Tides were not flawless in the second half — Gallinger followed an interception by South signal-caller Eddie Meisner with his fourth one of the game — they were stronger in other areas.
“It couldn’t have been any worse,” McKay said.
The Wolves rushed for just 30 yards in the second half.
“We changed the defensive front in the second half,” McKay said. “We were playing with some smaller guys in the first half and we switched up and put a little more weight in there.”
As his defense tightened, McKay said he was confident that if his team could avoid turnovers, standout kicker Korey Durkee could put Gig Harbor in position to win.
“In the first half we turned the ball over four times and twice in the red zone,” he said. “For us it was even double compounding because we have Korey Durkee and we always feel that even if we get stopped, we have a really good opportunity at three points.”
Durkee, who is committed to the University of Washington, connected on a 30-yard field goal that cut the Tides’ deficit to 20-10 midway through the third quarter.
Then came the turning point.
After the teams traded interceptions, Boddie fumbled on third down to give the Tides possession at the South 9. Three plays later, Ayers scored on a 3-yard touchdown.
“They kind of anticipated that they were going to pinch inside and make us run outside,” Sigurdson said. “Then we turn the ball over. You just can’t do it.”
The Wolves’ next drive stalled on fourth-and-2 when Boddie gained just half of the required distance on a rush to Gig Harbor’s 37.
On their ensuing possession, the Tides’ 11-play drive culminated with a 45-yard Durkee field goal to tie the score at 20 with 7:19 left in the game. McKay said Durkee was accurate from 55 yards out during pregame practice.
“Credit their kids,” Sigurdson said. “They made plays. They had a great second half. It’s not all a collapse.”
After a holding penalty stalled South’s next drive, Gig Harbor responded with another long series. The nine-play drive — highlighted a 36-yard completion from Gallinger to Garrett McKay — culminated with a 30-yard field goal by Durkee that put the Tides ahead 23-20 with one minute left.
“I wouldn’t want to put it on anybody other’s foot than him,” McKay said. “In pressure situations, he’s the guy I want.”
Defensive back Beau Glover then sealed the Tides’ second consecutive win in the series when he returned intercepted Meisner on third down and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown.
“He came into the season with 10 interceptions,” McKay said. “He just made a really nice break on the ball.”
At Gig Harbor 30, South Kitsap 20
South Kitsap 6 14 0 0 - 20
Gig Harbor 0 7 10 13 - 30
SK-Adam Gascoyne 2 run (kick blocked)
SK-Dominic Boddie 29 run (Aaron La Deaux kick)
GH-Jake Ayers 17 run (Korey Durkee kick)
SK-Gascoyne 4 run (La Deaux kick)
GH-Durkee 30 FG
GH-Ayers 3 run (Durkee kick)
GH-Durkee 45 FG
GH-Durkee 30 FG
GH-Glover 40 INT return
Passing-Eddie Meisner (SK) 14-23-1-145; Kaleb Nelson (SK) 0-1-0-0; Garrett Gallinger (GH) 16-36-4-194; Jake Ayers (GH) 1-1-0-41.
Rushing-Dominic Boddie (SK) 22-111; Adam Gascoyne (SK) 19-85; Nelson (SK) 1-8; Meisner (SK) 1—10; Bryce Broome (SK) 3-38; Chas Bauman (SK) 1-11; Ayers (GH) 12-35; Gallinger (GH) 7-5; Garret Steuk (GH) 4-6; TJ Turnbull (GH) 1-0.
Receiving-Aaron La Deaux (SK) 5-55; Broome (SK) 4-23; Devon Newquist (SK) 4-51; Nelson (SK) 1-16; Dillon Alexander (GH) 7-73; Garrett McKay (GH) 9-134; Steuk (GH) 1-8.