Fall season had plenty of highlights

As I was driving home from the KingCo Aquatic Center Saturday night, it hit me that basketball season is already upon us. For some reason, the fall sports season always seems to disappear faster than a pint of my favorite microbrew.

So as the South Kitsap basketball, wrestling, boys swimming and girls bowling teams get their season under way this week, I thought I’d look back on some of the more memorable moments of the fall season.

Here hoping the winter session can keep pace.

• Best line: “Say ‘Free college.’ ” – Sharon Chriswell, South Kitsap wrestler Brent Chriswell’s mother, trying to get everyone to smile as coaches and family members posed for pictures with her son, Stephanie Davison and Cassie Brown as they signed their colligate letters of intent on Nov. 9 at the high school.

• Best game: There are a couple to choose from this year. First was the SK volleyball team’s five-set classic with Central Kitsap back in October, a match that showed all of us just what to expect from coach Jessica Anderson’s program in the coming years.

Then there was the girls’ soccer team overcoming a cold and rainy day to beat Todd Beamer 4-3 to advance to the state tournament.

And there was that comeback by the football team against Shelton (more on that later), but for me, it was the Wolves’ 49-42 shootout win over CK.

I’ve always been one for good, solid defensive struggles when it comes to football, but to see those two teams rack up 860 yards of offense and combine for 13 touchdowns was just enjoyable to watch, at least for me.

• Best individual performance: I have plenty to choose from. There was goalie C.J. Balstad allowing just five goals in 16 regular season games, or Madison Rousell swimming a personal best 24.01 second 50-yard freestyle in winning that event at the state swim meet.

But I’ll go with quarterback Kyle Pease and the game he had against Shelton on Sept. 23. The senior QB completed 15 of 26 passes for 263 yards and a pair of touchdowns, the second one the game winner with just 13 seconds left in the game.

• Best breakout performance: No doubt about this one — Chad Fowler’s game against North Kitsap on Sept. 30. The junior transfer from Wichita, Kan., exploded for 252 yards on 30 carries and scored four times.

Although he would put up similar numbers against Gig Harbor a few weeks later (43-233, three TDs) that rainy night in Poulsbo showcased why he rose from sixth on the depth chart to the featured back in just a few weeks.

• Best moment: For me it came just moments before the kickoff of South’s game at North Kitsap. While standing on the sidelines talking with a fellow sports writer, South coach D.J. Sigurdson appeared and in a very convincing growl, told the two of us to remove ourselves from his sideline – not once but twice - because one of us actually went to school at NK (not me) and the other happened to be holding a notebook with a purple cover (me) — two no-nos on that particular night.

Not only was it roll-in-the-mud funny, it gave me a glimpse into a part of D.J.’s personality that very few have probably seen. And that’s too bad.

• Best display of mettle: Hands down to the football team in the closing minutes against Shelton. Trailing 14-10 with under a minute left, the defense got the ball back and the offense then went 35 yards in 40 seconds to win the game and turn its season around.

The poise that Kyle Pease showed in completing 4 of 6 passes, including a 16-yarder on fourth and goal to Jason Read was the highlight of their turnaround season.

• Best future: A week ago I would have said the girls soccer team, especially with all the young talent they have coming back, including Kylie Balstad, Kayliegh Westermann and Tori Fairweather.

But with the resignation of coach Eric Bergeson, I’ll go with the girls swim team.

With Madison Rousell back for her senior season and her eye on two titles and Helen Tripple, Jordan Wolfe and Kate Hubner back after a taste of the state meet, this group should make a push for top 10 next year.

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