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Kingston Buccaneers face past rivals Friday in the playoffs
POULSBO — The Kingston High School Buccaneers may remember their last encounter with the Steilacoom Sentinels best for an ill-fated two-point conversion attempt.
During the ninth game of the 2009-10 season, the Bucs were down 28-27 after a touchdown with less than one minute left in the fourth quarter. The Bucs tried, unsuccessfully, for an extra two points.
Since the teams’ old league, the Nisqually League, broke up, the two teams have not faced one another — until now.
The Bucs will have another shot at the Sentinels as the two teams go head-to-head Friday night in the first round of playoffs. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at North Kitsap High School Stadium. (North Kitsap will be playing in Renton.)
The Bucs seeded second into the playoffs from the Olympic League, behind the Sequim Wolves and ahead of the North Kitsap Vikings. Though the Bucs and Vikings tied in league play (5-2), the Bucs earned the privilege of playing a home playoff game with a better overall record (6-3).
This will be the first time the Bucs host — at North Kitsap Stadium — a playoff game. It is the second trip to the playoffs for the Kingston team.
The Sentinels will not be in the dark in this game. Sentinels defensive coordinator William Garrow said the team has watched footage of a few games, including the Oct. 27 game when the Bucs defeated the Vikings 27-20.
"The quarterback poses a lot of threat," Garrow said of Kingston's starting quarterback Sam Byers. Byers' ability to stay on his feet and run the ball when he needs to is the Sentinels’ main concern, Garrow said. Byers currently has 569 total rushing yards, behind Kingston's Nick Tabanera (661 rushing).
However, the Sentinels’ senior running backs could give the team the edge it needs, Garrow said.
The Sentinels team is young overall. Garrow said the team is still young in the front and the team's offense is not where the coaches would like to see it.
"We're not going to do anything crazy," Garrow said. "We just need to keep moving the football. We're definitely excited … It's a lot of fun."
The Sentinels went to the playoffs in 2008-09 postseason, where the team lost in the first round to Burlington Edison 38-21. The team ended the ’08-09 regular season 10-0.
The Bucs went to the playoffs for the first time in program history during the 2010-11 season. The Lindbergh High School Eagles defeated the Bucs in the first round 41-20.
Going to the playoffs is difficult enough for a team, and Kingston coach Dan Novick said being able to host a game is even more of a rarity. Novick said he talked to his players about the opportunity for postseason play.
"We are in a pretty good position," Novick said. "We come out (Friday night) and take advantage of our home crowd.
"We have some history with (the Sentinels), so it should be a good battle."
The Bucs playoff game begins at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 4 at North Kitsap High School Stadium.