Sports

SK gets a chance to show off its depth in blowout

With South Kitsap holding a firm lead throughout the second half in Friday’s 41-7 “Civil War” victory against North Kitsap, several backups played in the game’s latter stages.

A pair of backup quarterbacks -- junior Brian Dorsey and sophomore Gordy Anderson -- took snaps in relief of senior Chad Tester, although neither attempted a pass.

Coach D.J. Sigurdson also wanted to give running back Stephen Tucker more rest after he rushed for 198 yards on 33 carries in the Wolves’ 21-19 loss Aug. 30 at Kentwood. Tucker still rushed for 173 yards, but had only 16 carries against North.

That meant playing time for more than a half-dozen running backs, including junior Sean Allison, who rushed for 57 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries. It also was an opportunity for Mike Murray to see the field in a role other than special teams.

“It’s a big rivalry and it felt good just to get some yards against them,” Murray said.

Many coaches use substitutes late to avoid embarrassing their opponents and also to provide game experience for younger reserves, but Sigurdson said he also has other reasons.

“It’s one thing to talk about building depth, but it’s a lot of fun to play,” he said. “They want to win, but they also want to play.”

Murray said the opportunity to be on the field at the end was an unforgettable experience.

“We were on a high at that point,” he said. “It was a good time. I’m definitely feeling it.”

WOLVES AVOID LETDOWN FACTOR

The last three seasons, South followed a season-opening loss with another setback. They ranged from blowouts in 2004 against Bellevue (64-20) to last-minute setbacks in 2006 versus Lakes (32-31), but all setup mediocre seasons. South had a combined 16-14 record the last three seasons with no state-playoff appearances.

“We were looking to avenge that loss,” said senior offensive lineman Tyler Danison, referring to the Kentwood game. “The history said ... if we lost the opener we would lose the next one. We wanted to change that streak.”

South now has an opportunity to start 2-1 for the first time since 2003. Coincidentally, the Wolves also faced Central Kitsap in the third week that season. Even though the Cougars have struggled in recent years, they generally play South tough. The Wolves lead the series that dates back to the 1920s, 22-21-2.

“It’s another rivalry,” Tucker said. “We’re going to have to come out just as intense.”

Danison said the Wolves are focused on returning to state for the first time since 2002 and complacency won’t be an issue this season.

“We need to start proving ourselves as an elite contender,” he said.

BANGED UP

Senior fullback Deandre Jackson didn’t play against North after he suffered a sprained right ankle against Kentwood. Sigurdson said “he’s progressing well,” but offered no timeline for a return. The Wolves also briefly lost wide receiver Devlan Miller, who had a team-best 73 yards on two receptions against North, but Sigurdson said he just cramped up. He returned later in the game. The blowout also enabled the coach to rest Tucker. The starting running back the eight-day layoff between the Kentwood and North games gave him plenty of rest, though.

“When it’s game time, you can’t be sore no matter what,” he said.

EMERGING TALENT

The Wolves limited North to 73 yards on 39 carries, but the secondary also made its share of plays. The Vikings were forced to pass after falling behind early and quarterback Kyle Stringer completed 7 of 22 passes for 120 yards and two interceptions. One of those went 5 foot 11, 155-pound junior Jared Moore, who wasn’t listed in the Wolves’ roster in the program even though he starts at safety.

Moore might be anonymous there, but he hardly was on the field with an interception and two tipped passes against North.

“He really plays the ball well,” Sigurdson said. “He just has nice reactions to the ball in the secondary and he's really athletic.”

PENALTIES

South was penalized nine times for 70 yards against the Vikings, one of the few problems the team had in the game. One penalty came toward the end of the game as the Wolves tried to run out the clock, but they also twice were hit with a pair of 15-yard personal fouls.

“It took away a lot of momentum,” said Tucker, adding that he was certain it would be an emphasis when the coaches reviewed the game with the team this week.

Danison said it’s an aspect of the game the Wolves must improve on if they want to reach elite status.

“We need to really work on our mental game,” he said. “Our physical game is getting up there.”

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