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Braves blow 'em away
The attention was focused on South Kitsaps Ryan Cole and Bethels Steve Dildine, but it was battle over the line of scrimmage that determined the winner of the 4A state quarterfinal football game Friday night at Harry E. Lang Stadium in Lakewood.
Both running backs did their job. Dildine finished with 202 yards on 33 carries and Cole rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns.
But for the first time all season, SK got pushed around at the line of scrimmage and paid for it with a 48-18 loss.
We saw the better team win, SK coach D.J. Sigurdson said. Size doesnt surprise us. We havent played anybody smaller than us. Its just these guys are big and physically strong. Their offensive line was moving the line of scrimmage down the field.
The only thing that stopped Bethel from moving the ball in the endzone was the halftime buzzer.
The Braves scored touchdowns on their first four possessions and could have scored a fifth if time hadnt run out.
Dildine rushed for 176 first-half yards and three touchdowns, and the Bethel defense limited Cole to 66 yards on 12 carries.
Though Bethel pushed the ball up the field at will, SK gave Bethel momentum early in the game and clearly set the tone for the rest of the game.
After Bethel opened the scoring with a 13-play 65-yard drive, Bethel kicker Ryan Alwart pooched the ball in the air to SKs middle return line.
SKs Anthony Aguirre attempted an over the shoulder catch, but the ball slipped out of his hands and Bethel recovered on SKs 16-yard line. Three plays later Bethel took a 14-0 lead.
Unable to score on its next possession, SK punted and watched Bethel sustain a 11-play drive that resulted in Dildines third touchdown.
SK climbed back into the game when Victor Valle returned the ensuing kickoff 61 yards to Bethels 30 yard line.
Six plays later, Cole punched the ball in from six yards out to cut Bethels lead to 21-6 with 6:48 left in the game. Hiram Davis missed the extra point.
Bethel wasnt fazed.
They burned four and a half minutes off the clock by marching 80 yards on 11 plays.
From the three-yard line Dildine swept right but found Peter Lyle in the endzone for a touchdown pass on the halfback option.
Down 27-6, SK looked to cut into Bethels lead with under two minutes to play in the half.
Starting from the 23-yard line, SK moved to the 46 yard-line but faced fourth down and four yards to go.
Sigurdson opted to go for it but Travis Vetters pass to Richard Fein was incomplete.
On second down and 10 with 58 seconds remaining, Bethels Marcus Parks made the play of the game and all but sealed SKs fate.
After catching the ball 20 yards out, Parks slashed to the right sideline.
Four SK tacklers had him in his grasp and attempted to push him out of bounds. But Parks mustered the strength to ward off the defenders and run another 26 yards for a touchdown and a 34-6 lead.
Bethel added two more touchdowns in the second half.
Cole added his final prep touchdown in the third quarter and John Fuchs scored on a two-yard run late in the fourth quarter.
Sigurdson said mistakes clearly spelled SKs doom.
It seemed like a few plays accumulated where we were not making plays, Sigurdson said. We made a mistake on the kickoff return, we went for it on fourth down and dont get it and they go in and score, and we missed open-field tackles.
Reflecting on the season, Sigurdson said he couldnt have asked to coach a better group of players.
Im extremely disappointed in the outcome of the game but Im tremendously proud of these kids and thats never going to change. Im not disappointed in the kids. Theyve been a wonderful group to be around.