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CK, LaFontaine spoil Wolves homecoming, 45-28
While Friday night finally brought some real football weather to Kitsap County, it wasn't the best of night's to be getting a Gatorade shower. Unless you were Mark Keel.
Keel, the Central Kitsap head coach, got doused not once, not twice but three times Friday night at Joe Knowles Field after his Cougars posted a 45-28 win over South Kitsap to keep their playoff hopes alive.
"Oh, I was well worth it," Keel said. "I told them at practice this week, 'if we beat South, they can shower me.'"
That shower signified two things for Central: A rare win over their Narrows League Bridge Division rivals and chance to make the state playoffs with a win over Gig Harbor next week.
"That was our motivation coming in," Keel said of staying in the playoff chase. "We know where we are at and what our situation is as far as making into the playoffs. We knew we had to win out and this was the first game."
Central improved to 4-4 overall and 4-2 in league play and must win at Gig Harbor Thursday night to finish in the top three of the league and get the winner-to-state, loser-out game the following weekend. South dropped to 2-6 overall and 2-4 in league and guaranteed itself a losing record for the first time since the 1977 season.
"At this point, we don't have any control over that," South coach D.J. Sigurdson said. "That's kind of how I feel about that. It's unfortunate. I feel bad for the seniors that this will be their legacy, our legacy this year. But we're not going to worry about it."
Even worse for South was the fact it happened in front of a homecoming crowd that included a few members of the 1994 Class 3A state championship team and former coach Ed Fisher, who was making his first appearance at Joe Knowles Field in seven years.
Knowing that, Keel said he wanted the Cougars to jump out early and they did, scoring on five of their first six possessions in taking a 32-0 halftime lead.
"It's South Kitsap, there's still that tradition," Keel said. "Then we found out a couple of other things, it's their homecoming and that they were having a 10-year reunion (of the 1994 state championship team) and that kind of stuff, so we knew it was important to come out early because if they got any kind of momentum going, it could have been a different type of football game."
But this one began and ended as most games have for the Wolves this year, falling behind early and not having enough horses to get back in it.
The little things that have cost the Wolves all year long dogged them once again. Like opening the game by kicking the ball out of bounds and then not taking advantage of a quick turnover, like they got on the game's second play when South's Kyle Vetters recovered a fumble.
With the ball in Central's end of the field that quick, South immediately turned the ball back over and two plays later, trailed 6-0. A few minutes later, it was 13-0. By the end of the first quarter, South trailed 19-0.
"I can second guess myself for as long as you want to talk to me," Sigurdson said. "But the bottom line is, we're not making very many plays. It seems to be snowballing to where it kind of like 'when's it going to happen kind of thing.'"
It seems that it has come to the point that the whole team is just sitting back and waiting for something bad to happen.
"It certainly feels that way," Sigurdson said. "You don't want to think that but it certainly feels that way.
"We have to overcome ourselves," Sigurdson said. "We keep talking fundamentals and basics with this team. I think we need to just go line up and run (what we know). We just can't seem to take advantage of things we think we see. It just kind of messes us up - we're just a little bit immature."
Central took full advantage of every South miscue and followed the arm and legs of senior quarterback Nick LaFontaine to a 32-0 halftime lead. LaFontaine had a hand in four of the Cougars' first five scores, throwing for three and taking one in on his own.
LaFontaine hit Daniel VanDatta, Daniel Mayfield and Cody Oakes on scoring strikes of 60, 16 and 41 yards respectively while taking one in on his own from a yard out. Mayfield added 58-yard TD run to blow the game wide open.
"That's what we've kind of grown into," Keel said. "We came into the season from last year with Mayfield pretty much running the ball. I think Nick's gotten a better understanding of throwing the ball now. I think we put together a better plan of preparing to throw the football and I think our receivers are doing a better job of running routes and catching the ball as well."
South responded with an Anthony Galloway 5-yard run to open the third quarter but Central countered with touchdown runs by LaFontaine and Mayfield to maintain it's commanding lead.
In all, LaFontaine completed 7 of 8 passes for 237 yards and three scores while Mayfield rushed for 125 yards on just nine carries.
"I think our guys came out and played a good game," Keel said. "They were physical, they were aggressive and we won the football game."
South made it close in the end, scoring three times late in the final quarter. Senior wideout Dylan Pierce caught a pair of touchdown passes from backup QB David Hammrich while Brandon Kelly added a 12-yard scoring run.
But by that point, Central was relying on a defense that held South early but ended up allowing 349 yards. The Cougars rolled up 497 yards of offense in the win.
"We knew coming in here that we had to just fill our gaps," Keel said. "(South) doesn't do a whole bunch - they line up and just come at you. And I always challenge my guys whenever we play these guys to hey, take them on."
Central Kitsap 45, South Kitsap 28
Score by Quarters
Central Kitsap 19 13 7 6_45
South Kitsap 0 0 6 22_28
CK - Daniel VanDatta 60 pass from Nick LaFontaine (kick failed)
CK - Daniel Mayfield 16 pass from LaFontanie (Zach Bussard kick)
CK - LaFontaine 1 run (kick blocked)
CK - Mayfield 58 run (kick failed)
CK - Cody Oakes 41 pass from LaFontaine (Kyle Anderson kick)
SK - Anthony Galloway 5 run (run failed)
CK - LaFontaine 1 run (Anderson kick)
CK - Mayfield 1 run (run failed)
SK - Dylan Pierce 6 pass from David Hammrich (Cory Dame kick)
SK - Brandon Kelly 12 run (Pierce pass from Hammrich)
SK - Pierce 10 pass from Hammrich (Dame kick)
Rushing: Central Kitsap - Jeff Melin 2-7; Brandon Brown 11-79; Mayfield 9-125, 3 TDs; LaFontaine 3-(-1), 2 TDs; VanDatta 2-21; Craig Veach 3-19; Ben Hornsey 3-9; Zac Brown 1-4; Scott Rebura 3 -(-3). South Kitsap - Galloway 36-170, TD; Kyle Pease 3-5; Pierce 2-12; Jon Stryker 1-6; Orry Perez 3-21; Kelly 2-23, TD; Hammrich 1-9.
Passing: Central Kitsap - LaFontaine 7-8-0, 237 yards, 3TDs. Pease 2-10-1, 30 yards; Hammrich 6-12-0, 71 yards, 2 TDs.
Receiving: Central Kitsap - VanDatta 2-100, TD; Oakes 2-53, TD; Rick Bearbower 2-68; Mayfield 1-16, TD. South Kitsap - Monte Enyeart 5-70; Tom Cornell 1-15; Pierce 2-16.