It was a learning experience

With so much youth and inexperience, South Kitsap coach D.J. Sigurdson knew his team would go through some growing pains during the course of the 2004 football season.

And Friday’s night’s 47-13 loss to Lincoln in the season opener was pretty much that — growing pains. And Sigurdson and his staff are already in the process of dealing with the problems and finding solutions.

“There’s nothing like that kind of trial by fire,” Sigurdson said Saturday morning after watching game film with his team. “You can say your keys are this and if your key is this then your eyes go here, but they don’t understand until it happens. It’s kind of like touching a hot stove. You have to learn that way sometimes.”

South learned a harsh lesson Friday night, seeing Lincoln quarterback Dwayne Parker light up its secondary for 316 yards and five touchdowns.

“They capitalized on a couple of things,” Sigurdson said. “First of all, they made the plays. Their receivers made plays — they threw the ball well enough that their guys could catch it. And the times that our guy was in position, their receivers made good plays to catch the ball.

“And there were a couple of mistakes made as far as alignment,” Sigurdson said. “We weren’t lined up very well when the ball was snapped, we didn’t execute real well in the secondary. The difference, I think, was we might have made mistakes up front and they might have made mistakes up front but when you screw up in the front, it costs you six or seven yards. You screw up in the secondary, you’re giving up a lot more - six points or 60 or 70 yards. But those are all things we can correct.”

Having given up 464 yards of total offense and touchdown passes of 20, 63, 73, 55, and eight yards, the Wolves took a step Saturday towards getting those things fixed.

Some of those changes include more playing time for defense nose quards Dan Tajalle and David Walthall, who both preformed well, Sigurdson said. There will also be changes made so many of the defensive ends and offensive tackles will not spend so much time playing both positions.

And a couple of sophomores, Renard Williams and Cory Dame will get a serious look as well.

“The idea is to get the best 22 guys on the field,” Sigurdson said. “And to give some others guys an opportunity to play.”

But despite the score, Sigurdson saw some things he liked and others that were encouaging.

“I thought our offensive line played well, at times,” Sigurdson said. “And that’s encouraging because going in, (Lincoln coach Dick Zatkovich) felt like that was one of their strengths, their defensive front. So, for us to maintain possession of the ball and sustain those drives — and we did it basically running the ball with a little play-action passing — that was something we could build on.”

Sigurdson pointed specifically to the Wolves’ second scoring drive , which put them up 13-6. South went 54 yards in 11 plays and burned five minutes, 22 seconds off the clock. More importantly, it was the way South scored Sigurdson said.

The Wolves had first and goal at the five-yard line and just physically pounded the ball at Lincoln before Anthony Galloway scored on fourth down from a yard out.

“That was something we can build on, definitely,” Sigurdson said. “That type of attitude and mentality that we can run the ball.”

Sigurdson also said he was pleased with the play in the first half as a whole, especially the nice scoring pass Kyle Pease threw to Dylan Pierce and the way Galloway ran. The senior tailback ended the night with 77 yards on 15 carries.

But the eighth-year coach also said he and his staff need to improve as well.

“And it’s not just the kinds,” Sigurdson said. “(The coaches) have to do a better job of preparing the secondary and the other part is we have a brand-new quarterback and he really has a good grasp of the offense mentally.”

Sigurdson said the Pease interception returned for a touchdown just three plays into the third quarter was more a product of over-coaching than anything else.

Sigurdson and offensive coordinator Eric Canton told Pease he should have thrown the pass to a specific area earlier in the game and may have planted that thought in the junior quarterback’s head before the play developed — leading to a forced pass that resulted in a Lincoln touchdown.

“We have to do a better job as coaches because he’s the one out on the field,” Sigurdson said. “That’s why he’s out there, we trust his judgment and we trust his ability to run the offense.”

One upside was the playing time a lot of younger kids got due to the score in the fourth quarter. Junior David Hammrich saw some time at quarterback and Orry Perez spelled Galloway in the final period, rushing eight times for 53 yards.

“We took a lot of kids because I wanted to play a lot of kids,” Sigurdson said. “I wanted to get a lot of kids out on the field. (But) if it’s 13-13 going into the fourth quarter, not as many kids get to play.

“The kids want to win and we have to get them in a position to win,” Sigurdson said. “And then let them do it, let them play.”

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