Sports

The Streak lives another year

For the first 22 minutes the Olympia Bears may have looked like a team that deserved to go to the 4A state playoffs South Kitsap’s place.

But The Wolves showed why it’s important to play all 48 minutes as they came from behind to win 27-14 and extend the school’s streak of consecutive playoff appearances to 23 years.

Trailing 14-0 with just under two minutes to play in the first half, a lackluster offense sprung to life behind the legs of senior running back Victor Valle, who finished with 256 yards rushing.

Starting from Olympia’s 47-yard line, the Wolves embarked on the biggest drive of the year.

Valle reeled off runs of nine, 15, 14, and four yards before darting into the endzone from one yard out with 24 seconds left in the half to cut Olympia’s lead 14-7.

“That drive that we put together before the half made a huge difference,” SK coach D.J. Sigurdson said.

The momentum of that drive paid immediate dividends in the second half.

On the opening kickoff of the second half, Valle returned the ball 60 yards to Olympia’s 24 yard-line.

On the next play he scampered 24 yards for the game-tying touchdown. In the matter of 40 seconds, SK had gone from 14 points down to knotting the score at 14-14.

SK’s defense, which gave up two early touchdowns, continued to wreak havoc on Olympia running back Jason Kirk in the second half.

Kirk finished with 122 yards rushing on 34 carries, but only 52 of them came in the second half.

While SK’s defense kept Olympia in check, its offense started rolling it up on the ground.

Sigurdson attributed the strong second half to the adjustments made by the offensive linemen.

“It was basic stuff, really,” Sigurdson said. “They just needed to maintain their blocks. (Olympia) was looping around us and we were missing a little bit. We had to settle down and take shorter steps. Basically, the kids came out in the second half and won it.”

With just under 10 minutes to play in the game, Valle took the wind out of the Bears’ sails by coasting 74 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown, which gave SK its first lead of the game.

Three possessions later, SK put the exclamation mark down after safety Cody McCulley intercepted a Kurt Thatcher pass at midfield. SK quickly converted the turnover into a score.

Resting on his own 48 yard line, Valle jetted 48 yards before being tripped up at the four-yard line.

He took the ensuing handoff four yards for his fourth touchdown of the game.

SK’s defense continued to stifle Olympia’s attack.

In the end, SK had three interceptions — two from McCulley and one from Pat Kelly — and a fumble recovery.

SK, on the other hand, did not turn the ball over.

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