Kitsap has lost a football giant

Terry Ennis never coached at a West Sound school, but his presence in the football community was felt statewide.

The 63-year-old coach at Archbishop Murphy died last Wednesday after a nearly five-year battle with prostate cancer.

Ennis, who finished with a record of 287-87, was ranked second only to Tumwater’s Sid Otton (291-114) in career coaching victories in Washington state. He spent 36 years as a coach at Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma, Renton, Stanwood, Cascade of Everett and Archbishop Murphy.

While he was at Cascade from 1988-98, Ennis’ Bruins faced South Kitsap four times, often with significant playoff implications.

Cascade won the first meeting between the teams, 17-10, in the 1995 state-playoff quarterfinals. The game pitted Ennis against legendary South coach Ed Fisher, who guided the Wolves to their first state championship a year earlier.

South avenged the loss two years later, though, when it earned a 17-6 victory in the opener. It was the first game as coach for Sigurdson, who previously was an assistant under Fisher.

They met again in the 1997 state semifinals when the Wolves again beat Cascade 34-23 to play for the championship. South lost 49-13 in the title game against Central Valley.

“We just had better personnel,” Sigurdson said. “It seemed like (the game was within a touchdown) all the way to the end.”

The teams’ last meeting came in 1998 when the Wolves forfeited a 21-14 win in the season opener. Ennis retired after the season before becoming the coach at Archbishop Murphy in 2000, the first year the Mill Creek school had a football program. He won state championships at Cascade (1991) and Archbishop Murphy (2002 and 2003).

“I’ve worked with him directly coaching in the all-star game,” said Sigurdson, referring to the state’s annual East-West football game for high school seniors. “He’s just a class act. He was great for kids and great for football in the state of Washington.”


Since 1950, the Wolves and Central have played 41 times with both schools winning 20 games and the 1968 game ending in a 14-14 tie. But the Cougars were more interested in other numbers after their 49-21 win Friday against South.

“Twenty-three straight years in the playoffs,” said Central tight end Caleb Brown, referring to the Wolves’ state-record playoff run from 1980-2002. “They’re supposed to be at the top of the county -- we’re supposed to be near the bottom. We’re supposed to be one of the people that gets stomped on in the county.”

Overall, the Wolves lead the series 43-23-4, dating back to 1925.

“It’s no secret that South Kitsap is the team to beat over here and pretty much anywhere in the state,”

Central coach Mark Keel said. “I think our guys get up to play these guys and we try to get them up to play top competition.”

The Cougars seem up to the challenge as they now have a 3-0 record. Brown hopes they proved themselves to South -- and the Narrows League -- with the win.

“That just demands more respect from them now,” he said. “We’re getting respect as a good team now.”


Some blocking help might be on the way back for the Wolves’ running backs. Fullback Deandre Jackson, who sprained his right ankle in the Aug. 30 season opener at Kentwood and has missed the last two games, expects to return Friday at Lincoln.

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