Sports

SK turns the Tides in OT

Considering how many times the South Kitsap High School football team has shot itself in the foot this season, it’s amazing it has any toes remaining. Thursday night was no exception.

Despite coughing up the ball four times and being penalized 60 yards, SK out-lasted Gig Harbor 21-14 in overtime at Roy Anderson field to claim the Narrows League Bridge Division title outright.

Facing the top-ranked defense in the state, the Wolves (7-0 league, 8-0 overall) racked up 407 yards of total offense, with running back Victor Valle (189 yards rushing) and receiver Nick Anderson (146) accounting for 335 by themselves.

Drama seems to be part of SK’s package this year and they provided plenty of it against the Tides.

Trailing 14-7 midway through the fourth quarter, SK made a defensive stand and forced Gig Harbor (5-2 league, 5-3 overall) to punt with 4:52 remaining.

Facing a third down and five on its own 40-yard line, SK quarterback Josh Fullington connected with Anderson on a screen play.

Anderson did the rest, skirting outside down the left sideline for a 40-yard gain into Gig Harbor’s red zone.

After a Valle run and a short catch from Anderson, the Wolves faced a fourth and 12 with less than a minute re-maining.

Fullington then hit Anderson on a slant up the middle for a game-saving 13-yard gain.

Two plays later Valle punched it into the endzone and Hiram Davis converted his point-after attempt to tie the game at 14 with 47 seconds left.

Gig Harbor had no intention of downing the ball and trying its luck in overtime.

From their own 35 yard-line, the Tides marched to SK’s 43, but three incomplete passes forced a punt and regulation expired.

In the “Kansas” overtime, where each team starts with the ball on the opponent’s 25-yard line, SK had the ball first.

Valle was stuffed for minus two yards and Fullington’s incomplete pass forced a third and 13.

On the next play, Fullington dropped back as if to look for a big pass play, but dumped it off to Valle on a halfback screen for 14 big yards.

Valle was hammered and came up dizzy after the play.

Pat Kelly came in for one play (three-yard run) before Valle told the coaches he was ready to go back in the game.

On his 44th and final carry, Valle bobbled the ball but managed to gain three yards to give SK a third and six from the 10.

It was only fitting that Fullington found his favorite target of the night, Anderson, on a 10-yard slant for a touchdown and 21-14 lead.

Now it was up to SK’s defense to shut down the Tides.

Gig Harbor quarterback Matt Shearer, who was nine of 18 for 164 yards, attempted a long pass play but SK cornerback Craig Senter knocked the ball out of the receiver’s hands.

On second down, Anderson sacked Shearer to force a third and 15.

Shearer again tested Senter, who had been burned for a couple of big plays earlier in the game.

Senter wasn’t to be denied, though, as he pulled down Peter Burleigh’s arm to force an incomplete pass.

SK’s Andy Sund ended Gig Harbor’s hopes with an interception on fourth down.

As the Wolves charged onto the field in a roar of celebration, SK coach D.J. Sigurdson could only stand and thank his lucky stars SK pulled out the win.

“That was a heart-stopper,” Sigurdson said. “The kids played their fannies off. They had to overcome a lot. I would have liked for there to be fewer miscues to show preparation, but they just kept fighting and they’ve done that all season long.”

The miscues hit a high point in the first half as each team committed three turnovers.

Valle fumbled his first carry of the game, and Fullington was intercepted twice.

Gig Harbor didn’t help its cause, fumbling three times — twice deep in SK territory.

Still, SK entered halftime with a 7-0 lead after Valle ran it into the end zone from four yards out with 41 seconds to go.

SK fumbled once more in the second half, and the Tides turned the ball over two more times. SK also watched two golden scoring chances quashed by the state’s best defense.

Twice SK was within a yard of scoring. Opting to punch it in instead of kicking a field goal, SK was stuffed both times on fourth and goal and turned the ball over on downs. Those two missed opportunities could have pushed SK over the edge mentally.

Sigurdson said all he could do was tip his cap to the Tides’ defense.

“They played great defense,” he said. “We went right at them. It was attitude on attitude and they came out on top twice.”

Anderson said there was never any panic.

“It was like the CK game,” Anderson said, referring to SK’s dramatic win late in the game last month at Central Kitsap.

“We knew our rules,” he said. “Every-body was confident.”

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