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Defense headlines Wolves 10-0 win against Central Kitsap
He does not have a fancy nickname.
South Kitsap’s Chris Nenninger is simply someone who finds a way to make a significant play every week.
The senior made perhaps his biggest one during Friday’s 10-0 Narrows League win against Central Kitsap at rain-soaked Joe Knowles Field.
Cougars quarterback Brett McDonald faced third-and-22 from his own 5-yard line when he dropped back into the end zone under pressure. In an attempt to avoid a safety, McDonald lofted a pass that landed in Nenninger’s arms. He took the interception for a 2-yard touchdown that gave the Wolves a two-score lead midway through the third quarter.
“When I saw the snap go over the quarterback’s head, I thought 'that’s going to be interesting,' ” Nenninger said. “I just kind of flooded toward the ball.”
South coach D.J. Sigurdson said he is becoming accustomed to big plays from Nenninger.
“He’s been a godsend,” Sigurdson said. “He’s always in the right place.”
That was enough for South’s defense, which limited the Cougars (2-3 overall, 2-2 league) to 144 yards of total offense. Central never advanced farther than the Wolves’ 29.
“Once again, they stepped up and played really well,” Sigurdson said.
The Wolves (5-0, 4-0), who were ranked No. 6 in the latest Associated Press Class 4A poll, shut out Central for the second time in the last four years. The Cougars won the last two meetings in the series, but lost 42-0 in 2006 at Joe Knowles Field.
Central had a 2-3 record before advancing to the state semifinals, but the Cougars do not face another team ahead of them in the standings. With four weeks left in the regular season, they might need to win the rest of their games to clinch a playoff berth.
“We put ourselves in a pretty deep hole now,” CK coach Mark Keel said.
South, which has defeated its two primary rivals — Central and Gig Harbor — in one season for the first time since 2002, appears in good position to win the Narrows League title. After playing Bellarmine Prep (3-2) next Friday, the Wolves do not face another team with a winning record.
Their own perfect mark appeared in peril when they struggled to move the ball in the first half. But Sigurdson was not too concerned about the outcome.
“We knew what kind of game it was going to be,” he said. “This is just the type of game we’re going to have with this team. I’m really proud of our kids for hanging in there and responding the way they did.”
South also was without starting quarterback Gordy Anderson, who had tight muscle tissue in his back after a 10-6 win Sept. 25 against Olympia at Ingersoll Stadium. Sigurdson expects Anderson to play against Bellarmine Prep.
Junior Tanner Romo made his first start and completed 5 of 11 passes for 29 yards. He forced a fourth-down pass into coverage that was intercepted by Christian Wesley near the goal line. But Isaiah Davis, who also intercepted a pass, knocked the ball loose from Wesley and he and Leon La Deaux jumped on the ball.
The coaching staff was flagged for being on the field while trying to get a time out, which backed them up to the Central 18. But Davis was able to kick a 35-yard field goal as time expired to give South a 3-0 edge at halftime.
“It was kind of an ill-advised interception,” Sigurdson said. “But kids are just trying to make plays. It worked out well for us.”
As did the final drive of the game. The Wolves regained possession with 7:48 left in the game and never gave the ball back as Robert Issa rushed for 71 yards on nine carries during the drive. He finished with 158 yards on 21 carries.
“He was huge,” Sigurdson said. “We told him we’re going to keep you in there until you tell us you want out, and we just rode him. The offensive line obviously did a great job, but he ran the ball hard.”
At South Kitsap 10, Central Kitsap 0
Central Kitsap 0 0 0 0 — 0
South Kitsap 0 3 7 0 — 10
SK—Isaiah Davis 35 FG
SK—Chris Nenninger 2 interception return (Davis kick)
Rushing—Marcus D’Angelo (CK) 7-7, Monterill Anderson (CK) 8-33, Brett McDonald (CK) 5-29. Robert Issa (SK) 21-158, Michael Neiner (SK) 9-7, Zach Cruz (SK) 4-4, Chris Nenninger (SK) 2-8.
Passing—Brett McDonald (CK) 9-16-1-75. Tanner Romo (SK) 5-11-1-29.
Receiving—Preston Nelson (CK) 5-40, Christian Wesley (CK) 1-6, Maurice Brown (CK) 2-18, Josiah Shoemaker (CK) 1-11; Bo Ottak (SK) 1-7, Neiner (SK) 1-1, Austin Cook (SK) 1-12, Isaiah Davis (SK) 1-8, Leon La Deaux (SK) 1-1.