SK's best just wasn't enough this time around

All the little things that had won them so many games in the past were there. The effort, the key turnover, the big play from a big-game player and the never-say-die attitude.

Unfortunately for the South Kitsap Wolves, it was the little things that brought an end to a 23-year Class 4A playoff run Saturday in Vancouver.

“We didn’t come ready to play today,” senior safety Brent Nickerson said.

“I think we were ready, we just didn’t quite put it together,” quarterback Josh Fullington said. “The way we were the first half, everyone knew it was unacceptable, and we came out and played hard and that’s the way the game turned out.”

Trying to get out of the first-half hole the Wolves had dug for themselves was hard enough, but the way they dug that hole was what upset most of the players.

“I don’t know if it had to do with the drive or what, but no excuses,” senior cornerback Craig Senter said. “We just didn’t come ready to play.

“It was the little mistakes that piled up,” he said. “I wish I could go back ... There were crucial points where I wish we could have just stepped it up more.”

The first half saw the Wolves commit penalties to keep drives alive for Mountain View. There were two bad snaps on punt attempts that led to four points, but more importantly, good field position for the Thunder.

“I don’t know if it’s the long bus ride, is it just new environment or what it was,” SK offensive coordinator Eric Canton said. “But we were pretty flat. There were times in the first half where it was dead silent in this whole stadium. I mean, there was not a sound being made, and it was eerie.”

It was downright scary to see a team that prides itself on taking advantage of opponents’ mistakes being taken advantage of.

The Wolves’ first three drives started at midfield or in Mountain View territory but all ended with punts. Then when SK was backed up and punting out of its own endzone, bad snaps just made things worse.

But SK put things together for the second half and rolled to 19 straight points and the lead.

“We did pull together. I really love how we came out in the second half and just totally took it to them,” Senter said. “A lot of us just realized that this might be the last time we ever play and we gave it our all.”

But a few big catches by the Thunder’s Matt Hoss put MV on top to stay.

“They made plays, we made plays, they just made a few more,” Senter said.

“It’s awful knowing that just a few things go the other way and we win and we’re celebrating right now,” Senter said. “Instead we’re done for the rest of, for me, the rest of my life probably. I won’t put on pads ever again. That’s the worst part.”

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