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FOOTBALL | Bell helps Wolves run past Stadium
TACOMA — South Kitsap learned it cannot rely on others to do its work.
While the Wolves defeated Stadium 28-7 in a Class 4A Narrows League game Friday night, they learned shortly afterward that their postseason hopes likely were thwarted when Olympia upset Bellarmine Prep.
That means South (3-5 overall, 2-3 league) will host rival Central Kitsap at 7 p.m. Friday in a game that likely will not have playoff implications — at least for the Wolves. South now will have to defeat the Cougars (6-2, 3-2) and hope for a Yelm upset at Olympia to earn 4A Narrows’ final playoff spot.
“We’ve still got to finish strong,” South junior running back/linebacker Marshaud DeWalt said. “Leave a name for ourselves.”
If the Wolves do not qualify for the playoffs, they will face a to-be determined opponent from 3A Narrows to close out their season.
South nearly rendered all of its playoff prospects moot with a listless first half against the Tigers, who have lost 25 consecutive games against the Wolves since their last win in 1976. Sophomore Corey Bell returned the game’s opening kickoff 75 yards to give South a 7-0 lead at halftime. The Tigers had a 122-75 advantage in total offense at halftime.
“It’s a good thing we had that opening kickoff,” South coach Eric Canton said. “Because otherwise, it’s a different ballgame.”
DeWalt said he and some teammates shared a stern message at halftime.
“It took a couple of us players to yell at them and tell them we needed to pick it up or our chances are done if we don’t win this game,” he said. “We got the job done and that’s all that matters.”
The Tigers (1-6, 0-6), who have lost 19 consecutive league games since they defeated Mount Tahoma 28-12 on Oct. 29, 2010, drove into Wolves’ territory on their first two drives of the second half. But Stadium turned the ball over on bounds each time.
And Bell made them regret it.
On South’s first possession of the second half, he broke a 50-yard touchdown run down the left sideline. Then on the Wolves’ ensuing possession, Bell’s 53-yard run helped set up a 9-yard touchdown run by senior Xavier Wells. That gave South a 21-0 lead.
“He played really well,” Canton said. “At the same time, I don’t think he was getting touched until he was 15 yards downfield. The offensive line came back and did a lot better job than they did during the first quarter.”
The teams then traded touchdowns in the fourth quarter with DeWalt scoring on a 2-yard run and Stadium capitalizing with a 6-yard run by junior Liam Ayers late against the Wolves’ reserves.
South had to rely on backups at several positions. Senior running back Terro Bell did not play. Canton said Bell’s absence was an “internal issue.” The Wolves also had multiple offensive linemen who were sidelined with concussions and other undisclosed issues.
“I hope we’re healthy, especially our quarterback,” Canton said. “Cooper [Canton] took a shot right on the elbow in the first quarter. We’ll have to see how that looks.
“That’s the way it has been this year. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.”
While South has struggled with consistency at times, its rivalry with the Cougars has been steady. Neither team has won on the road in the series since the Wolves’ 49-42 victory on Oct. 20, 2005, at Silverdale Stadium.
“It was the shootout,” said Canton, who was an assistant under D.J. Sigurdson at the time. “I remember that game.”
DeWalt looks forward to the game, but knows his team cannot afford a repeat performance if it expects to continue the trend of the home team winning the rivalry.
“That will be a good game,” he said. “We can’t come out flat, though. If we come out flat, it’s going to be an ugly one.”
South Kitsap 28, at Stadium 7
South Kitsap 7 0 14 7 - 28
Stadium 0 0 0 7 - 7
SK-Corey Bell 75 kickoff return (Kees Metselaar kick)
SK-C. Bell 50 run (kick failed)
SK-Xavier Wells 9 run (Dylan Garcia pass from Cooper Canton)
S- Liam Ayers 6 run (Graham Rumbaugh kick)
Passing-Cooper Canton (SK) 7-10-0-62, Conner Reed (SK) 0-1-0-0, Tre Scott (S) 6-16-2-108, Nick Loftin (S) 1-1-0-21.
Rushing-Marshaud DeWalt (SK) 8-92, Corey Bell (SK) 6-133, Canton (SK) 3--17, Xavier Wells (SK) 5-39, Angelo Vigil (SK) 1--1, Deion Anderson (SK) 1-3, Team (SK) 1--14, Fredrick Crumbley (S) 3-25, Loftin (S) 18-66, Dylan Rychtarik (S) 2-1, Liam Ayers (S) 1-6, Devariej Criss (S) 5-12, Scott (S) 7-35, Tarak Jedidi (S) 2-7.
Receiving-Logan Knowles (SK) 3-29, DeWalt (SK) 1-2, Dylan Garcia (SK) 3-31, Loftin (S) 2-8, Ben Cotrill (S) 2-48, Rychtarik (S) 1-16, Criss (S) 2-57.