Wolves put a pounding on Port Angeles

When Port Angeles quarterback Stefan Walker scored on a 49-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter of Friday night’s Narrows League Bridge Division opener against South Kitsap, it not only cut Wolves’ 32-0 halftime lead in half, it ensured D.J. Sigurdson had seen enough.

After not being able to close out wins in their first two games of the year, Sigurdson, the Wolves’ ninth-year head coach, wasn’t about to let it happen a third time. And this time it didn’t, as South’s starters returned to the field to snuff out any thoughts of a PA comeback by scoring the next three times they touched the ball en route to a 53-22 win.

“I wanted to give the (backups) a chance to play, but I didn’t feel good about just giving it up and turning it into a game after the (starters) had been so dominant in the first half,” Sigurdson said. “I wanted to make sure we left on a high note. It was important to me for us to finish on a high note.”

In the most important game of the year, the Wolves, 1-2 overall and 1-0 in league play, responded with their best outing on both sides of the ball and snapped a two-game losing streak with better play from their defense and plenty of power from the offense.

“I think we took a little step forward,” Sigurdson said. “The thing I like most of all was I saw some guys really aggressively running to the ball. I saw some very aggressive play, not just on defense but I saw it on special teams. I saw some big hits. I saw a lot of big hits on returns.”

With the offensive numbers as well as the score stacked in South’s favor at halftime — the Wolves led 32-0 and had out-gained the Roughriders 275 yards to 46 — things seemed well in hand. But two quick Port Angeles scores suddenly cut the lead in half and Sigurdson reinserted his starting lineup to ensure a positive outcome.

“Every single one of us wanted to come back out and play more,” said senior lineman Kyle Saltsgaver. “We were sitting on the sidelines like, ‘Oh, man.’ We understand why, but we all wanted to play.”

And when they got their chance, they responded on both sides of the ball.

The offense ground out a 13-play, 65-yard scoring drive that burned up five minutes, 15 seconds to get things going again while the defense forced two straight three-and-outs before Port Angeles scored late once the backups were back in.

As has been the case all season, the South offense had little trouble rolling up yards and points.

Running backs Micheal Pulkrabek and Stephan Tucker each scored twice as South racked up 405 yards on offense with an additional 162 yards in returns. Senior quarterback Kyle Pease completed 3 of 4 passes for 90 yards, including a nifty 63-yard scoring strike to David Parker while Shawn Stayton added a 65-yard punt return.

Pulkrabek, a junior running back, scored twice in the first quarter on runs of 2 and 21 yards, while Tucker, a sophomore, added scoring runs of 4 and 65 yards in the fourth quarter.

The Wolves' running back-by-committee continued to produce as they combined for 288 yards on 38 carries and accounted for six of the team’s eight scores.

Pulkrabek ended the night with 70 yards on 10 tries while Tucker picked up 74 on just five carries.

Junior Cory Dame added 67 yards on six carries while Chad Fowler went for 75 yards also on six tries, including a 24-yard touchdown run.

But this night belonged to a defense that had struggled with closing out teams over the first two weeks. South responded particularly well to an offense it wasn’t expecting to see – Port Angeles took every offensive snap with Walker in the shotgun formation.

But the Wolves’ defenders systematically shut down the wide-open attack, holding Walker to 185 yards of total offense. The junior QB completed just 10 of 23 passes for 80 yards and picked up the majority of his rushing yardage against South’s second and third teamers.

Almost half of his 105 rushing yards came on a 49-yard TD run late in the third quarter.

“They thought they might be able to get after our secondary a little bit, and (Walker) throws it pretty well,” Sigurdson said of the Roughriders’ shotgun offense. “That was something they game-planned for us. The No. 1 defense, they bottled them up, they adjusted just fine. We seem to being playing a little bit more physical style of football than we had in the previous two weeks.”

Which is what the Wolves not only wanted but needed.

“I feel much better defensively,” Saltsgaver said. “I feel like the team came a long way. We feel really good.”

While the victory was a big one, the Wolves have little time to celebrate or contemplate it. Shelton, which handed South a 47-18 loss last year, comes to town Friday night fresh off a 21-6 league win over Central Kitsap and sets up what will be the league’s biggest game of the year to date.

“It just makes us get prepared for Shelton next week” linebacker Jesse Galligan said. “We start all over and get to work on Monday.”  

South Kitsap 53, Port Angeles 22

Score by quarters

South Kitsap 26 6 0 21 - 53

Port Angeles 0 0 16 6 - 22

Scoring summary

SK - Micheal Pulkrabek 2 run (Quincy Lyman kick)

SK - Chad Fowler 24 run (kick failed)

SK - David Parker 63 pass from Kyle Pease (Lyman kick)

SK - Pulkrabek 21 run (kick failed)

SK - Cory Dame 40 run (kick failed)

PA - Chris Darling 7 pass from Stefan Walker (Darling pass from Walker)

PA - Walker 47 run (Eric Lane pass from Walker)

SK - Stephan Tucker 4 run (Lyman kick)

SK - Tucker 65 run (Lyman kick)

SK - Shawn Stayton 65 punt return (Lyman kick)

PA - Darling 24 pass from Walker (pass failed)

Team statistics

South Kitsap Port Angeles

First downs 16 15

Rushes-yards 38-288 35-135

Passing yards 117 80

Return yards 162 50

Passes (C-A-I) 6-11-0 10-23-1

Punts 3-37.0 7-25.7

Fumbles-Lost 2-0 4-1

Penalties-yards 8-85 6-45

Individual statistics

Rushing: South Kitsap - Pulkrabek 10-70, 2TDs; Dame 6-67, TD; Fowler 6-75, TD; Jonathan Dye 2-1; Anthony Catalano 5-11; David Hammrich 1-4; Kylan Dorsey 1-(-5); Tucker 5-74; Christian Burns 1-(-4); Chip Pierson 1-(-1). Port Angeles - Brett Moore 17-39; Walker 17-105, TD; Lane 1-(-9).

Passing: South Kitsap - Pease 3-4-0, 80 yards, TD; Hammrich 3-6-0, 27 yards. Port Angeles - Walker 10-23-1, 80 yards, 2TDs.

Receiving: South Kitsap - Johnathan Quilantang 1-14; Parker 1-63, TD; Monte Enyeart 1-17; Josh Burlingame 1-9; Catalano 1-1; Jesse Galligan 1-13. Port Angeles - Lane 5-36; Darling 5-44, 2TDs.

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