Sports

Vikings clash with Trojans

From left, North Kitsap’s Kyler Barnum, Riley Curtis-Stroeder and Ben Berkimer lead the Viking football team through downtown Poulsbo on Front Street during the North Kitsap High School Homecoming Parad, Wednesday. The Vikings are 3-0 in the Olympic League and prepare to play the Olympic High School Trojans tonight.   - Kipp Robertson/ Herald
From left, North Kitsap’s Kyler Barnum, Riley Curtis-Stroeder and Ben Berkimer lead the Viking football team through downtown Poulsbo on Front Street during the North Kitsap High School Homecoming Parad, Wednesday. The Vikings are 3-0 in the Olympic League and prepare to play the Olympic High School Trojans tonight.
— image credit: Kipp Robertson/ Herald

POULSBO — North Kitsap junior Kyler Gracey began playing on the football team as a freshman. It’s the first time he has seen the team with a winning record.

“It feels great,” Gracey said.

Gracey, the starting kicker for the Vikings football special team, has the second most points on the team. Coach Jeff Weible said as far as he’s concerned, he’s a team MVP. Weible said anything when it comes to field goals, he’s comfortable putting Gracey into kick within 45 yards.

“He’s just a good weapon to have,” Weible said. “He’s certainly one of the most importance players to have when it comes to the success of our team.”

Gracey’s farthest field goal during a game is 43 yards. The school record is 49 yards. Though he prefers the team get a touchdown if possible, he would like the opportunity to break that record, he said.

Gracey is 14 points behind Andrew Urquhart, who leads the Vikings scoreboard with 44 points, including seven touchdowns and a two-point conversion.

Tonight, Gracey, Urquhart and the rest of the Vikings football team have the opportunity to add to their cumulative scores; going up against the Olympic High School Trojans. The game begins at 7 p.m. at the North Kitsap High School Stadium as part of North Kitsap’s Homecoming celebration.

The Trojans (1-2 Olympic League) are coming off a 20-7 loss against Port Angeles Sept. 30. The Vikings (3-0  Olympic League) are on a three-game win streak, after defeating Bremerton High School 24-6 Sept. 30.

Though the Vikings got off to a 0-2 start in the preseason, Weible said the team was doing well. The first two games, against Centralia and Bainbridge, prepared the team for their opponents in the Olympic League, he said. With teams continuing to build upon the previous week, the Vikings need to stay on the path they are on.

“We’ve been working hard and I think everyone has really stepped up on their aggressiveness,” said junior Viking linebacker Ben Berkimer.

Berkimer, like Gracey, began playing on the football team his freshman year. He spent one season on the C team and moved up to junior varsity his sophomore year, where he played a single game. After a varsity middle linebacker was injured early last season, Berkimer moved up to varsity.

Berkimer leads the team in tackles with 38. He said the defensive line needs to work on staying low — the team has several tall players — and gaining leverage over their opponents. The team has the strength and size, however, everyone needs to work a little more on technique, he added.

“These guys have been working hard,” Berkimer said of the Vikings. “There’s going to be a big change in North Kitsap football.”

The Vikings currently have a one-yard-difference between total rushing yards (853) and passing yards (854) — it was not planned. Though Weible wants the Vikings to be more of a running team, he said having similar yard gains for both can have it’s advantages.

“Looking at it from a defensive standpoint, other teams can’t really key in on one thing,” he said.

Viking running back (linebacker on defense) Dan Mitchell said he would like to see the ball run more, but has confidence in the passing game.

Mitchell currently leads the team in rushing yards with 361 yards. “I just keep working hard and hoping for the best,” he said.

Vikings top stats

Rushing yards: 853

Passing yards: 854

Total points: 154

Points against: 60

Lead scorer: Andrew Uruqhart — 7 TDs

Most yards (receiving): Andrew Uruqhart 448

Most yards (rushing): Dan Mitchell — 361

Most interceptions: Andrew Hecker — 5

Most tackles (total): Ben Berkimer — 30

Most sacks: Andrew Uruqhart — 2


 

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