Wolves, Bears clash for berth in tourney

Considering the South Kitsap High School football team has qualified for the state tournament 22 straight years, the odds are good it will be 23 years after tonight’s showdown with the Olympia Bears at Joe Knowles Field at 7 p.m.

But SK coach D.J. Sigurdson isn’t paying any attention to history.

His only concern is getting his team prepared for the soundest team the Wolves will have faced thus far in the season.

“Olympia’s strengths are they’re sound in everything,” Sigurdson said. “They are real systematic and efficient. They play mistake-free football.”

Though Olympia will be without its injured star running back, Luke Kravitz, Sigurdson said it doesn’t look like the Bears have lost production in the backfield with running backs Jason Kirk and John Kosteros.

The Bears run the ball 75 percent of the time, Sigurdson said, and are solid when they put the ball in the air.

Senior quarterback Kirk Thatcher has a favorite target in wide receiver/split end Pat McCann.

“He’s got great speed,” Sigurdson said.

After facing a huge line against Gig Harbor last week, SK will line up against a team similar to itself in size.

“We match up a little better than normally,” Sigurdson said. “They have one big kid and the rest are typical high school size, but they’re good athletes.”

Olympia runs the wing-T, an offense SK is all too familiar with.

Sigurdson compares Olympia’s offense to Bremerton’s, only without the option.

“They like to do fake handoffs and play-action pass,” he said. “They like to line up with double wings or double split ends.”

Just like any other wing-T offense SK has faced, the keys to stopping it is the defense’s ability to read its keys to know where the ball is at all times.

On the defensive side of the ball, Olympia’s veteran leadership comes in the secondary, which has three seniors and a junior.

Sigurdson said his team is the healthiest it’s been in six weeks, which means starting receiver and return specialist Richard Fein will be back on the field for the first time in over a month.

SK, the No. 1 seed out of the Bridge Division, drew Olympia, which earned the Bay Division’s No. 3 seed after surviving a mini-playoff with Lincoln and Capital.

Olympia defeated Lincoln and then lost to Capital, which earned the No. 2 seed.

Bellarmine is the No. 1 seed.

Sigurdson is no stranger to playing on a Tuesday and turning around and playing on a Saturday.

While he’s seen wins and losses from teams that played only three days prior, Sigurdson said he doesn’t wish the short week on any team.

“It’s a struggle,” he said. “Management is tough. It’s a poor thing to put a high school kid through.”

There are some teams that could end up playing three games in a 10-day span.

“It’s just not safe,” he said. “You make your players more prone to injury.”

As for which team has the advantage, Sigurdson said he likes having more than a week to prepare for a team.

“I look at it as a disadvantage for (Olympia),” he said. “Coaches don’t have time to get their kids down time to prepare. (Thursday) was the only day for them to have a good hard practice.”

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