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South defeats North, 31-22
The running backs may have had the spotlight during Friday nights game between North Kitsap and South, but the special teams stole the show.
The two top running backs in the Narrows League, the Vikings James Smith and the Wolves Victor Valle, met when the Vikings faced the undefeated Wolves, and neither disappointed; each scored three touchdowns and rushed for more than 150 yards.
But coaches for both teams say it was the little things that led South Kitsap to a 31-22 win over their rivals from the north.
Field position had a lot to do with it, said South Kitsap coach D.J. Sigurdson, who saw kick returner Nick Anderson tear off a 50-yard return to open the game.
North Kitsap coach Jerry Parrish agreed especially, he noted, in a pair of punts that were not caught and rolled deep into the Vikings territory.
We should have caught the ball and did not, he said.
The excellent return by the Wolves Anderson led to a touchdown when Valle scampered up the left side of the field for an 18-yard score.
Six minutes later, the Wolves got the ball back on Cody McCulleys interception of North Kitsap quarterback Jared Prince and converted with a 35-yard field goal by Hiram Davis.
But North also moved the ball well, marching down the field on its next possession with the help of two 14-yard passes by Prince and several long runs by Smith, who scored a one-yard touchdown run to put North within three points.
North took the lead in the second quarter when Smith burst free on a third-and-short play and ran untouched for a 75-yard touchdown.
The 14-10 lead stood for only a few minutes, as South Kitsap drove 65 yards for a touchdown, which came when Valle stopped at the line of scrimmage dove his way into the end zone on a second effort to give SK a 17-14 lead.
The Wolves extended their lead to 23-14 late in the second half when quarterback Josh Fullington, under pressure from Viking defenders most of the game, faked a pass, saw a brief opening in the North Kitsap defense, and weaved his way 19 yards for a rushing touchdown.
The Wolves carried the 23-14 lead into the half.
The Vikings had moved the ball well against the South Kitsap defense in the first half (Smith had 153 yards).
The Vikings opened the second half on their own 20-yard line and proceeded to march 47 yards before SK defenders Albert Jenkins and Anderson stuffed Smith on fourth down, giving the Wolves the ball.
South converted a few minutes later when Fullington rolled out of the pocket and shook off a pair of North Kitsap defenders before hitting McCulley for a 45-yard-pass.
Five plays later, Valle scored his third touchdown of the game with a four-yard run, and the Wolves extended their lead to 31-14.
The Vikings scored on a drive later in the fourth quarter when Smith bulled his way for a 2-yard score of his own. A two-point conversion made it 31-22.
The Wolves (5-0, 4-0 in league) coach Sigurdson said that North was a difficult opponent to host.
That offense is frustrating, he said. They had the ball for so many plays.
Defensive lineman Albert Jenkins, who had a pair of sacks on the evening, agreed.
It was tough to defend against them, he said. Their running back is fast, and their line blocks really good.
Parrish, whose Vikings (2-3, 2-2 in league) will host Port Angeles on Friday during homecoming, said he was more than happy with the teams performance.
It was one of the better games we played this year, he said, and itll be a springboard to better things this week. The kids did something they havent shown us in a long time ... they played better and better instead of playing well and then tailing off.