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Highclimbers cut down Wolves, 47-18
Isaiah Taito knew Friday night would bring his final shot at beating South Kitsap in football. He made the most of his final chance.
Shelton's senior tailback tallied 324 yards of total offense and scored four times to lead the Highclimbers to a convincing 47-18 Narrows League Bridge Division win over South Kitsap at Highclimber Stadium.
The win, which was the first for Shelton over South Kitsap ever, moves the Highclimbers to 4-0 on the year and 2-0 in league play while the Wolves dropped to 1-3 and 1-1 and are in serious danger of missing the playoffs for the second straight year since the school's state record 23-year consecutive playoff streak was broken last season.
"It feels good after three years to finally beat them," Taito said. "I felt like this was my last chance to put everything on the line."
That he did, rushing for 261 yards on just 14 tries, including scoring runs of 49, 26 and 33 yards. Taito also caught a pass for a 63-yard touchdown.
"He was really locked in tonight," Shelton coach Matt Hinkle said. "He's done a great job for us the six or seven years he's been here. We'd like to have him back again next year."
Hinkle was joking of course but what his offense did to the Wolves was no joking matter on the opposing sideline.
For the third time this season, the Wolves gave up a ton of yards and plenty of points. In fact, the Highclimbers were the third team this year to score at least 47 points against South.
"We just couldn't play any defense," South coach D.J. Sigurdson said. "We just did a really poor job of preparing the kids on defense."
Shelton rolled to 495 yards of offense, 349 of that coming on the ground.
"We just tried to balance up as much as we can," Hinkle said. "We got a pretty good running back and we got two kids that catch fairly well. So we tried to spread it out."
Shelton quarterback Chris Smith found plenty of holes in the Wolves secondary, completing 9 of 15 passes for 146 yards and two scores. The senior signal caller saw little pressure up front and was sacked just once by South's Brandon Turk.
"We wanted to throw a little more and soften them up because no one really knows about Chris Smith or Bo Tinaza yet," Taito said. "We wanted to get them the ball and hopefully they'd soften up and I think we did a good job of executing that."
The plan worked as Smith routinely had open receivers to throw to. Tinaza caught five balls for 43 yards while Rory Caveille hauled in two for 29 yards.
"We didn't execute our plays, we didn't do the little things right," South defensive lineman Joe Beitinger said. "I didn't expect them to be so aggressive. It was tough to get by them on the line on defense. We didn't cover their receivers very well and we didn't get up the field to put any pressure on the quarterback. He had all day to throw it and he did what he wanted back there."
The Highclimbers as a team did pretty much whatever they wanted throughout the game, although things were tight early on.
Shelton scored the first time it touched the ball as Taito rushed three times for 79 on the opening drive, including a 49-yard touchdown run.
But South came right back in just the way it wanted, going 79 yards on 14 plays and eating seven minutes off the clock. Senior tailback Anthony Galloway was the workhorse on the drive, carrying the ball 10 times for 35 yards and scored from two yards out.
But the Highclimbers used their speed and big-play ability to score three times on their next four possessions to take a 28-6 halftime lead.
"They had the athletes to do it and they played well," Sigurdson said. "We just need to do a better job of coaching them. The kids looked out of position."
But any hope of a South comeback ended just 38 seconds into the third quarter when Taito scored on a 26-yard run to put Shelton up 35-6.
"I never got to touch him on defense," Beitinger said of Taito. "He is fast and very strong."
South responded with its best drive of the night, going 58 yards on 13 plays to cut the lead to 35-12. Again, Galloway carried the load, rushing 12 times for 49 yards including a 7-yard score.
For the night, Galloway rushed for 206 yards on 37 carries and scored all three South touchdowns.
"He is so tough, he's such a tough kid," Sigurdson said. "It's a blessing for us to have someone like him in that position."
The Wolves converted a Shelton fumble into a quick score to get within 35-18 but could get no closer.
Galloway accounted for most of the Wolves offense while junior quarterback Kyle Pease completed 8 of 19 passes for 100 yards and had one intercepted.
Shelton, which is tied atop the Bridge Division standings with Gig Harbor, faces Bremerton Friday night while South must find a way to rebound against North Kitsap and the league's offensive MVP Jared Prince.
"South Kitsap, they've been either league champs or right up there for the last 325 years I think," Hinkle said. "They scared us. They have a great program but they're just going through some growth pains but they'll be back."
Shelton 47, South Kitsap 18
Score by quarters
South Kitsap 0 6 12 0_18
Shelton 7 21 7 12_47
Sh - Isaiah Taito 49 run (Rory Caveille kick)
SK - Anthony Galloway 2 run (kick failed)
Sh - Caveille 8 pass from Chris Smith (Caveille kick)
Sh - Jerry Riley 6 run (Caveille kick)
Sh - Taito 63 pass from Smith (Caveille kick)
Sh - Taito 26 run (Caveille kick)
SK - Galloway 7 run (run failed)
SK - Galloway 1 run (run failed)
Sh - Taito 33 run (kick failed)
Sh - Joe Espino 6 run (kick failed)
South Kitsap Shelton
21 First Downs 21
48-213 Rushes/Yards 30-349
100 Passing/Yards 146
8-19-1 Passes 9-15-0
2-1 Fumbles/Lost 2-1
3-20 Penalties 9-65
South Kitsap - Anthony Galloway 37-206, 3 TDs; Orry Perez 3-9; Kyle Pease 3-(-10); Jon Stryker 1-3; Brandon Kelly 3-4; Kylan Dorsey 1-0. Shelton - Isaiah Taito 14-261, 3 TDs; Chris Smith 1-(-10); Kevin Farmer 1-54; Jerry Riley 2-18, TD; Kyle Hakola 4-10; Tyler Pacholke 5-(-8); Joe Espino 3-24, TD.
South Kitsap - Kyle Pease 8-19-1, 100 yards. Shelton - Chris Smith 9-15-0, 146 yards, 2 TDs.
South Kitsap - Dylan Pierce 1-10; Chris Hogan 2-15; Tom Cornell 4-56; Jon Stryker 1-9. Shelton - Bo Tinaza 5-43; Rory Caveille 2-29, TD; Jerry Riley 1-11; Isaiah Taito 1-63, TD.