Tides need double overtime to get past South

Big-time players always seem to come with big-time plays in big-time games. And after Friday night’s Gig Harbor-South Kitsap battle, Chad Fowler and Toney Henderson can be safely put in the big-time category.

In the biggest game of the Narrows League Bridge Division season, the Tides’ Henderson and South’s Fowler turned an epic battle between the league’s top two teams into a one-on-one thriller that needed not one but two overtimes to settle the outcome.

And on that night, Henderson and Gig Harbor got the best of Fowler and the Wolves, leaving Port Orchard with a 34-31 win.

“It was a very good game,” South coach D.J. Sigurdson said. “Our kids played extremely hard and so did theirs.”

For the Tides (6-1, 4-1), this was their third straight win over South (4-3, 4-1) after losing the first six times they faced each other. And with each year, this game seems to get better and better.

But Friday’s game seemed to hinge on two very talented individuals, whose personal statistics were as evenly matched as the two teams.

Henderson, a junior who won the Class 4A state long jump title last year, caught 10 passes for 143 yards and three touchdowns, while Fowler, also a junior, rushed for 233 yards on 43 carries and scored three times.

Each player scored to put their team aheadp, again to keep their team in the game and, finally, each player scored in overtime to make the 2005 matchup an instant classic.

“This is one of the better ones I’ve been involved with,” Gig coach Darren McKay said. “The kids came out (Friday night) and made the plays they had to. Give South Kitsap credit, though – they played us pretty tough.”

What made it even better, from the Tides’ point of view, was that Henderson caught all seven passes completed by backup QB Zach Pearson after starter Troy Burki left with a bad hamstring.

Pearson hit Henderson seven times for 80 yards and two scores, a 16-yarder to get the game into overtime and a 13-yarder in the first overtime.

“He made some very athletic plays,” Sigurdson said of Henderson. “I just felt like if they were (going to throw it to Henderson with a No. 2 quarterback) 10 times that they wouldn’t complete all of them and we’d get some plays out of our kids. And unfortunately, he made more plays than our kids.”

The backbreaker was Henderson’s 19-yard reception on third and 10 late in the fourth quarter, one he caught while lying on the ground.

But not to be outdone, Fowler countered with another outstanding outing. Of his 233 yards, 130 came after halftime, and his scoring runs of 13, 9 and 10 yards came at crucial points in the game.

“He really did a good job,” Sigurdson said. “The conditions out on the field were not great, and footing was not good and he did a really good job of staying on his feet and getting down the field.”

After trading touchdowns in the first half, South pulled out to a 21-14 lead with just eight minutes to go in the game. But Henderson made a great adjustment on a ball to tie the game with a minute and half left. But the Wolves had one last chance to win it out right, but Quincy Lyman’s 28-yard field goal attempt went wide left, giving the Tides new life in overtime.

Henderson and Fowler traded scores in the first overtime period, but the Tides forced a 23-yard field goal in the second and then converted to South penalties into a four-yard score by Michael Murphy to secure the win.

Of course it wasn’t all Henderson and Fowler on this night. The Tides moved the ball well early on the ground, getting 99 yards from back Gary Cole and 94 from Murphy while South quarterback Kyle Pease had another solid outing, completing seven of 11 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively for South, Kyle Saltsgaver and Renard Williams recorded 12 tackles each.

With a chance to all but wrap up the division crown for the first time since 2002, the Wolves now find themselves in a first-place tie with the Tides and Shelton at 4-1 in league play.

After beating each other, South downed Shelton before the Highclimbers beat Gig Harbor, the three teams all have two winnable games remaining on their schedules but the going won’t be easy.

Both the Tides and Wolves play Bremerton and Central Kitsap while Shelton gets Olympic and North Kitsap.

Should the three maneuver their final two games and ended up tied, they would meet for a three-team mini-playoff Nov. 1 to decide the division’s order of finish.

A site and time for a playoff, if it is needed, was determined at an AD meeting late Tuesday night.

“If we see them again, I think we’ll be ready because we played a great game,” Fowler said. “We held on to the ball, no turnovers. As I see it, I see no screwups so next time, maybe we can come out with the victory, I hope.”

Gig Harbor 34, South Kitsap 31 (2OT)

Score by Quarters

Gig Harbor 0 0 14 7 7 6 -34

South Kitsap 0 7 7 7 7 3 - 31

Scoring summary

SK - Jesse Galligan 10 pass from Kyle Pease (Quincy Lyman kick)

GH - Jake Merrill 4 run (Mike Vint kick)

GH - Toney Henderson 25 pass from Troy Burki (Vint kick)

SK - Chad Fowler 13 run (Lyman kick)

SK - Fowler 9 run (Lyman kick)

GH - Henderson 16 pass from Zach Pearson (Vint kick)

GH - Henderson 13 pass from Pearson (Vint kick)

SK - Fowler 10 run (Lyman kick)

SK - Lyman FG 23

GH - Michael Murphy 4 run

Team statistics

Gig Harbor South Kitsap

First Downs 26 28

Rushes-yards 41-205 59-307

Passing yards 178 113

Passes (C-A-I) 13-21-0 7-11-0

Return yards 93 31

Punts 4-34.0 4.37.0

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0

Penalties-yards 6-50 9-64

Individual statistics

Rushing: Gig Harbor - Gary Cole18-99; Michael Murphy 16-94, TD; Troy Burki 2-(-4); Brian McGee 3-12; Jake Merrill 2-4, TD. South Kitsap - Chad Fowler 43-233, 3TDs; Kyle Pease 5-32; Orry Perez 11-42.

Passing: Gig Harbor - Burki 6-10-0, 98 yards, TD; Zach Pearson 7-11-0, 80 yards, 2TDs. South Kitsap - Pease 7-11-0, 113, TD.

Receiving: Gig Harbor - Toney Henderson 10-143, 3TDs; Murphy 1-0; Merrill 1-11; Brent Garries 1-24. South Kitsap - Monte Enyeart 2-22; Galligan 2-38, TD; Jason Read 1-9; David Parker 2-44.

(Missed field goals: Ricky Sosa 35, 22; Lyman 28.)

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