Sports

2004 had some unforgettable moments in SK sports

Ah, the end of yet another year draws close. I’ve always hated this time of year, as most sports writers do.

First off, there’s not much going on, especially for those of us who work the small town, bi-weekly beat.

Secondly, it’s the time of year of that brings the obligatory end-of-the-year or best-of lists – you’ve undoubtedly seen and read many of them already.

I hope ya’ll can handle a few more as New Year’s Day will bring the top 10 sporting moments of the year involving Port Orchard and South Kitsap High School. And there were plenty to choose from.

But this week, being that the end of the year also marks my first full year of covering sports in Port Orchard, I thought I might offer you my top 10 personal favorite moments of the past 12 months. These are the ones that stood out to me for whatever reason.

So without further interruption, and in no particular order, here are my best moments of 2004:

• Best game: South Kitsap vs. Federal Way, girls’ soccer, Nov. 6 at the West Central District Tournament in Sumner. A classic all the way that will be forever distinguished by South’s team defense and the play of goalie Alicia Cleaver.

The Wolves survive an offensive onslaught to win in an overtime shootout. Cleaver saves the day while freshman Kaitlin Myles scores the winning goal.

• Best play: The 62-yard touchdown pass Kyle Pease threw to Monte Enyeart to cap the fourth-quarter comeback against Mount Tahoma on Nov. 5. The season was already lost and those kids could have quit and I don’t think anyone would have blamed them. Yet down 20-7, they rallied to win 27-20 sparked by Pease’s best throw of the year, one that found Enyeart streaking down the right sideline.

It was the perfect pass, put in the perfect place at the perfect time.

• Best atmosphere: A cold, calm, clear Nov. 10 night turned into an eerie fog as South Kitsap’s soccer team played host to Redmond in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs at Silverdale Stadium. As the game moved on, the fog got thicker and dropped closer to the field. By the end of the game, I could barely see across the field.

The thicker the fog, the better the atmosphere.

• Best decision: Craig Senter, a 2004 graduate of SK, opting to attend the University of Hawaii. He was offered a partial academic scholarship and he took it.

Every time I’ve talked with his father, Wayne, I hear tales of sunshine, beaches and surfing. And to think, I tried to talk him into going to Texas.

• Best quote: South Kitsap football coach D.J. Sigurdson on his coaching ability after losing to North Kitsap 62-7 said, “You would look at our defense and go, ‘What are they doing?’ To me, you’d say, ‘What are they doing? Are they coaching these kids at all?’ ”

It took a lot of guts to say that to the media but Sigurdson is a standup kind of guy.

• Best coaching move: SK boys’ basketball coach John Callaghan inserting Mike Lizama into his starting lineup last season. With Lizama's tenacious defense and quickness, the Wolves were a much different and much better basketball team.

Without making that move, the Wolves don't go to the state tournament.

• Best line: “You know why he called it, it’s because I’m black,” said an obviously sarcastic Randee Robinson to soccer coach Eric Bergeson after getting a yellow card during the first half of South’s 3-1 victory over Olympic Oct. 21 at Marcus Whitman Junior High.

Trust me, she was kidding. But at the moment, the way she said it, it was very funny. Robinson has a great sense of humor, and even better timing, so just go with me on this one.

• Best celebration: One of the best sights all year was the human pile of bodies on the floor at Puyallup High School after South Kitsap’s basketball team knocked off top-ranked and unbeaten Bethel on Feb. 27 at the West Central District Tournament in February to qualify for the state tournament.

It was hard not to smile as those 12 young men celebrated like little kids.

• Best moment: I’ll admit it’s hard not to get caught up in the emotion of South Kitsap athletics sometimes. I try my best not to get involved, but sometimes my emotions get the best of me.

After the girls soccer team lost to Redmond on Nov. 10, I had to decide which girls to interview. They were all crying, which makes my job even harder. Try interviewing a 17-year-old girl just minutes after her high-school sports career has ended. It’s not easy.

But I choose Stephanie Milne because I knew she would talk to me despite the circumstances. She did and we shared a nice moment.

• Best job: Mine, without a doubt. Not only do I get to sleep in every day but I get to attend some of the best high school sporting events in this state, and for free.

And on top of that, I get paid to do so. What could be better? I’ll tell you. I get to work with some of the best coaches I’ve ever been around and deal with some of the best kids I’ve ever had the pleasure of interviewing.

This school, its coaches and its kids never cease to amaze me.

Thanks so much for a great year. I’m looking forward too many more.

Jeff Wilson can be reached at 876-4414, or by e-mail at sports@portorchardindependent.com.

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