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Costly errors end SK season
"It's a familiar tale for the South Kitsap High School football team to lose in the state playoffs. But that fact didn't lessen the pain after the Wolves' 42-20 first-round loss to Kamiak at Lincoln Bowl Saturday night.Other than a 1994 state championship, the Wolves have tasted disappointment in 20 of their last 21 state appearances.Junior running back Ryan Cole, who finished with 204 yards and two touchdowns in the loss, said it goes beyond disappointment.There's an old saying coach (D.J. Sigurdson) shares with us: 'I'd rather live with disappointment than regret,' Cole said. Right now I'm living with regret.Cole admitted he put a lot of pressure on himself this game, and he delivered as his numbers show.But SK ruined promising drives with turnovers. Add that to a pair of questionable pass interference calls against SK and it leads to an easy summation from Sigurdson.(Kamiak) is a good team. They capitalized on our mistakes and we made too many mistakes. You can't overcome that many mistakes, Cole said.Down 14-12, SK found itself needing a defensive stand before halftime.But for the second straight week the defense got burned on a hook and lateral play.Kamiak converted the trick play for 25 yards and followed that up with a 29-yard touchdown pass with 10 seconds remaining to take a 21-12 lead into the locker room.The Knights had charged 58 yards on three plays in 28 seconds.Despite the momentum killer, senior R.J. Lange said the Wolves still had their heads up in the locker room.Halftime is not a problem, Lange said. We've dealt with more. We thought we could come back and win and that was what we were planning on doing.But key mistakes in the second half prevented SK from taking over the game.After forcing Kamiak to punt on the first drive of the third quarter, SK stormed back to come within one point after sustaining a 14-play drive and capping it off with a Cole five-yard touchdown run and successful two-point conversion.It was the ensuing Kamiak drive that may have taken away any momentum SK had.Referees called two questionable pass interference calls on SK that allowed Kamiak to keep its drive alive. Then, on a fourth down and two on the SK 19, Kamiak's Justin Washington (110 yards, three touchdowns) ran 15 yards on a sweep to give Kamiak a first and goal at the four-yard line.The Knights scored three plays later to take a 28-20 lead.Junior quarterback Travis Vetters, who started in place Anthony Fein because of disciplinary reason, still had ammunition left in his arm.Having thrown a 13-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Josh Chilton in the second quarter, Vetters completed a 30-yard pass to junior receiver Tyler Mayfield on third down and seven to keep the ensuing drive alive.Cole ran three carries for 25 yards to give SK the ball on Kamiak's 23-yard line.But Vetters mishandled center Josh Holt's snap and Kamiak recovered to end the drive.Kamiak converted the turnover into a 10-play touchdown drive, giving the Knights a 35-20 lead with 5:04 left in the game.SK was unable to get a first down on its drive deep in their own territory and gave up the ball on downs, allowing Kamiak to score the final touchdown.Junior Sean Banks said the better team didn't win Saturday.We're sitting here beating them and we beat ourselves, Banks said. I'm not going to say we lost it ourselves. They beat us fair and square. It's just disheartening to watch that.Banks said the hardest part was watching the seniors say goodbye to their prep career.I can't do this anymore, a teary-eyed Banks said. I watched Jimmy (Newell) sit here and cry in this number (Banks wears his No. 3), and watching Chilton cry... If we don't win next year I don't know what I'll do. We gotta find a way to win. I don't care how we do it because we will be state champs next year.Cole said tearfully how saddened he is for the seniors.I didn't want the season to end like this, Cole said. I love the seniors this year. I wanted to win state with them. People say 'Well, you got next year.' Well no, I'm not thinking about next year, I'm thinking about this right now. People don't understand the time and effort we put into this program and just have it gone like that. It hurts.Lange said the team stuck it out and played their hardest, but mistakes killed them in the end.There's nothing we can do about it. Tonight's over with. Gotta move on. Nothing else to do about it. Can't change the past, so why cry about it.Senior Dominic Rio said losing the way the Wolves did left him with the worst feeling he's ever felt.We'll never play together again and that's a sad story, Rio said. We had it, man. It was ours to lose and we did. "