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Kingston Buccaneers conquer Vikings during Pillage and Plunder Bowl
POULSBO — The Kingston High School Buccaneers victory over the North Kitsap Vikings during the fifth Pillage and Plunder Bowl was more than a rivalry win.
The game, which ended 27-20 Thursday night, improved the Bucs Olympic League standing to 5-2. The Bucs are now tied in the league with the Vikings (5-2) as both teams stand on top of the league along with the Sequim High School Wolves (5-1).
There are currently four teams in the league that could end the season tied — Bucs, Port Angeles Roughriders, Vikings, Wolves.
The Vikings had a shot at taking the league title for themselves under the right circumstances, which required a win against the Bucs.
With the loss Thursday night, the Vikings are looking for the Roughriders (4-1) to defeat the Wolves to take a share of the league title. The Roughriders and Wolves play each other Friday night at 7 p.m. If the Wolves win, they will take the league title. If the Roughriders win, all four of the previous mentioned teams will end the season 5-2.
Though a four-way tie in the league may not be as thrilling as an outright league champion, the game Thursday night was far from tedious.
The Bucs started the game off with two successful onside kicks; both resulting in a Buc touchdown.
The first Buc drive ended in eight plays and a 6-0 lead after the point after was blocked by the Vikings.
The Bucs second drive — following an onside kick recovered by Kingston's Collin Stone — was 9 seconds long. Kingston starting quarterback Sam Byers sent the ball down field to Richie Sander on the first play, resulting in a 50 yard touchdown pass.
Kingston head coach Dan Novick said the onside kick is a tactic he feels his team does well. If the onside doesn't work, the team, he said, can usually hold the opponent to a field goal.
"We figure we can recover about 40 percent," Novick said of the Bucs onside recovery rate. "That's good odds."
With the Bucs up 13-0 in the first quarter, the Vikings looked for a quick comeback after receiving a third onside kick from the Bucs. During the second play of the Vikings drive, Byers intercepted a pass from North Kitsap starting quarterback AJ Milyard; running the ball to the Viking's 27 yard line (43 yards). A quick drive sent Kingston's Nick Tabanera into the end zone.
Before the first quarter ended the Bucs were up 20-0.
A second unsuccessful onside kick left the Vikings on their own 43 yard line.
The Viking's possession did not last long, after Kingston's Lee Pham forced a fumble recovered by Kingston's George Marinan. The Bucs would not add to their score after the fumble recovery; ending the first quarter.
Kingston would start the second quarter with good field position, which would improve after Tabanera rushed to the Viking's 7 yard line. However, the Vikings would stop the Bucs drive, forcing a fumble; recovered by North Kitsap's JT Nettleton.
The Vikings now on their third drive, would fight out to Buc territory. After a penalty, which left the Vikings at fourth and 12, the ball would return to the hands of the Bucs.
The Bucs did not make it far. With less than 10 minutes left the Bucs were forced to punt.
The Vikings, taking over at their own 31, would nearly miss a scoring opportunity. Milyard would save the drive on fourth and 1 with a few minutes left in the half. A 22 yard pass to North Kitsap's Mitch Adams brought the Vikings to the Bucs 21. A run by North Kitsap's Conner McCorkle and completed pass to McCorkle put the Vikings on the board with 30 seconds left in the half. The Bucs blocked the point after attempt by North Kitsap's Kyler Gracey.
The second half started as quickly for the Bucs as the first half did, when a nine-play-drive ended with a 28 yard pass from Kingston's Bobby Reece to Sander for the Bucs third touchdown.
The Bucs lost momentum, however.
Leading 27-6, the Bucs fifth onside kick left the Vikings in good field position yet again.
The Bucs would make up for the kick, turning the ball over on their own 34 yard line with 3:09 left in the third.
The Vikings forced the Bucs to punt after a holding penalty on the Bucs and a loss of yards by Tabanera.
The third would end with the Milyard completing two passes to North Kitsap's Andrew Urquhart for a total of 37 yards.
The fourth quarter began with a touchdown pass from Milyard to Nettleton.
Gaining momentum and down by seven (27-20), the Vikings turned the ball over and Milyard sent the team down field with four complete passes and a touchdown pass to Urquhart.
After receiving the ball, the Bucs were forced to punt again.
The Vikings last drive ended in Buc territory, where a first down was put further out of reach by a false start. An incomplete pass would end the Vikings final chance to tie the game.
"It's just real gratifying to play a game of that magnitude with two good football teams," Novick said. "I'm real proud of how (the Bucs) finished the game."
The district playoffs begin Nov. 4 for the teams in the Olympic League.
Olympic League standings
North Kitsap 5-2
Port Angeles 4-2
North Mason 1-5