Youngsters shine as South slays Knights

No, your eyes were not deceiving you Friday night at Joe Knowles Field.

Yes, South Kitsap rolled over Bremerton 43-7 just like it was supposed to. And yes, there were a few lesser-known faces mixed into the fray, getting some well-needed and well-earned playing time.

Yes, that was sophomore Renard Williams you saw wrecking havoc with the Knights offensive line. And yes, you did see junior back-up quarterback David Hammrich playing receiver and making catches. And yes, that was Jesse Galligan filling gaps from his linebacker position.

And no, South coach D.J. Sigurdson was not taking it easy on the depleted Knights, the guys you saw out on the field during a cold and rainy night were out there for a reason.

“It wasn’t designed just for Bremerton or anything like that,” Sigurdson said of his lineup shuffle. “Those guys were the starters.”

And they were starting for a variety of reasons, Sigurdson said.

Most earned it through hours of practice time and performance but some spots were changed around due to injuries, Jeff Coulon and Kyle Saltsgaver sat out the game with minor tweaks, and other factors. But the bottom line was the Wolves, despite their opponent, looked solid once again and seemed to enjoy the night.

With the win South improved to 3-6 overall and 3-4 in Narrows League Bridge Division play. The Wolves close out the season Friday night at home in a league crossover game with Mount Tahoma (4-5, 3-4).

That will give a very young team one last chance to improve on what has been a very difficult year.

Williams, a defensive end, made his second start of the season and was impressive as was fellow sophomore Galligan, who made his first start while filling in for Coulon.

“Renard continues to progress, to do what we think he’s capable of doing,” Sigurdson said. “He just needs to keep going. Galligan, for a guy making his first start, looked like he was reading his key and moving to the ball pretty well.”

And Sigurdson changed the receiver corps up a bit as well, giving Hammrich a chance to play more offense this week. Hammrich filled in for Dylan Pierce who had been sick most of the week and was used mainly on defense.

And while the night belonged to some of the team’s younger players, there were plenty of chances for everyone to get involved. Most notably was senior fullback Jon Stryker, who had his best game of the season and also scored three times.

Stryker got a chance to show off some moves on a couple of short passes that turned into touchdowns, including a 27-yarder, and also scored on a nice trap play in the second half.

“He was part of the game-plan as much as he is any week,” Sigurdson said. “It just so happens that he was in there when those plays were called and he made plays. He made a couple of real nice plays. And I thought he blocked well too.”

The Wolves now enter unfamiliar territory Friday night in the league crossover game. For the first time in 23 years, South will play a game knowing it is a season-ender regardless the outcome. And one that has nothing more on the line than pride.

“It will be easy for myself to be motivated for this one,” Sigurdson said. “It will be my first opportunity as a head coach to end the season on a win.”

Since Sigurdson took over the South program in 1997, each season has ended with a loss, albeit a playoff loss. But Sigurdson said that is something he’d like to change.

“And the kids, obviously, are going to want to keep building on what we did tonight,” Sigurdson said. “It was nice to see good effort out there. We need to keep building on that.”

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