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Once more ... with feeling
It may have taken 10 weeks but the real South Kitsap Wolves finally showed up Friday night.
Mired in their first losing season since 1977 and given the opportunity to just go quietly away one last time, the Wolves responded with emotional play and a killer instinct that had been lacking all year to rally past Mount Tahoma 27-20 and close out the 2004 football season at Joe Knowles Field.
We were pumped, sophomore Cory Dame said. We wanted this victory for the seniors and coach (D.J.) Sigurdson. We all came out and played great tonight.
With the win, South ended the year at 4-6, as did Mount Tahoma, and missed out on the state playoffs for the second year in a row after making 23 consecutive trips, a state record. But the team ended strong, winning its final two games and handed Sigurdson his first-ever season-ending victory in seven tries.
I think we responded to a little bit of adversity the way you want a team to respond, Sigurdson said. Rather than getting scared and getting on our heels.
The 2004 season had seen its share of blowout losses and lackluster play but on this night, the Wolves put together their best overall game of the year and gave the hometown crowd something to cheer about by coming back from a 20-7 third-quarter deficit.
A lot of it was built-up anger we just had to let it out, senior Dylan Pierce said. We were just very, very frustrated coming into this game. Everyone was intense and everyone responded well. I think everyone realized that it was the last time the seniors were going to play on this field, so they just gave it their all.
South literally took over the game in the fourth quarter, scoring three times while allowing the Thunderbirds just 20 yards of total offense in the final period. The Wolves racked up 166 yards in the fourth quarter alone and did something they havent done all year take advantage of the opportunities given to them.
I think we started making plays and all it is, is confidence, offensive coordinator Eric Canton said. You see them get a hop in their step. You see them start to get cranked up when someone made a play. That seems to have been missing this year and I dont know why.
After falling behind 20-7 after a 71-yard scoring run by Mount Tahomas Shawn Overton with just two minutes, 27 seconds left in the third quarter, South could have packed it in and let the season end like so many other games had this year. But there was something different in the air this night and everyone felt it.
The Wolves took advantage of a couple of Thunderbird mistakes, two personal foul penalties to be exact, and cut the lead to 20-14 when junior quarterback Kyle Pease scored from a yard out.
They were getting really frustrated because they got, I dont know how many personal foul penalties, senior Brandon Kelly said. We just kept it up and didnt let them come back. It showed that mistakes can take over a game.
It was then that the defense took complete control of the game, shutting down a running game that moved with ease in the first half and forced a quick three-and-out.
It was different on the sidelines, you could feel it, Sigurdson said. They responded. They got excited when we made plays on defense. And when we needed to respond on defense, they did.
Senior tailback Anthony Galloway scored his second touchdown of the night eight plays later, going 26-yards to tie the game. Another three-and-out gave the Wolves a chance to put the game away and they wasted little time in doing just that.
With first and 10 at their own 38, Pease rolled to his right and found Monte Enyeart streaking down the sideline with a step on his defender. Pease put the ball in the only place it could be, by far his best pass of the year, and Enyeart ended up in the endzone and South had finally found its killer instinct.
I think it was confidence in whether or not they could come back from being down, Canton said. And I think tonight they said the heck with it. Were going to do it.
The defense again held the Thunderbirds and South had its win and finally showed what it was capable of.
Galloway ended his high-school career with 210 yards on 35 carries while Pease completed just 4 of 12 passes for 100 yards but connected on the big one. The Wolves defense, after a slow start, held firm, allowing 278 yards of total offense.
It was a case of the seniors stepping up and they have at different times throughout the year, Sigurdson said. Obviously Galloway has played well and (lineman) Brad Ossman played well all season long and I think some of the other ones stepped up. And some of the younger kids gained some maturity and started playing like they are capable of playing.
While the season as a whole will go down as disaster, everyone involved sees a positive future for the program. And it all started with Friday nights game.
This is going to be a great image and memory for them, Canton said. Its going to be imprinted on the young kids as far as thats how you do it and thats how we did it the last time we played and thats how we are going to continue to do it.
I think they are going to remember how they felt out on the field tonight, Canton said. I think it will be pretty easy for them to remember what this felt like and to duplicate it. The way we finished is going to be huge. Its going to be really big.
Sigurdson was obviously pleased with the effort and was already starting to look toward next year after the game.
We have something to send the seniors off with and we have something to build with for the underclassmen, Sigurdson said. Thats very important to us.
South Kitsap 27, Mount Tahoma 20
Score by quarters
Mount Tahoma 6 6 8 0_20
South Kitsap 7 0 0 20_27
MT - Shawn Overton 3 run (pass failed)
SK - Anthony Galloway 29 run (Cory Dame kick)
MT - Will Edge 15 pass from Brandon Jimenex (run failed)
MT - Overton 71 run (Greg Greenhouse run)
SK - Kyle Pease 1 run (Dame kick)
SK - Galloway 26 run (kick failed)
SK - Monte Enyeart 62 pass from Pease (Dame kick)
Mount Tahoma South Kitsap
13 First downs 19
46-263 Rushes/Yards 48-234
15 Passing yards 100
1-6-0 Passes 4-12-0
2-2 Fumbles/Lost 2-2
10-95 Penalties 1-5
Rushing: Mount Tahoma - Shawn Overton 19-129, 2 TDs; Antonio Baird 14-33; Brandon Jimenez 11-102; Will Edge 1-(-4); Greg Greenhouse 1-3. South Kitsap - Anthony Galloway 35-210, 2TDs; Kyle Pease 7-11, TD; Brandon Kelly 4-35; David Hammrich 1-(-2); Cory Dame 1-2.
Passing: Mount Tahoma - Jimenez 1-6-0, 15 yards, TD; Pease 4-12-0, 100 yards, TD.
Receiving: Mount Tahoma - Edge 1-15, TD. South Kitsap - Tom Cornell 1-14; Enyeart 2-69, TD; Dylan Pierce 1-17.