POULSBO — By this point in the season, the Kingston Buccaneers and North Kitsap Vikings football teams know the other team pretty well. At least as much as the other can without going head-to-head on the field.
But tonight at 7 p.m. at North Kitsap Stadium, the teams will compete in the Pillage and Plunder Bowl.
Kingston coach Todd Harder said he expects the Vikings to be explosive.
“They have some talented possession players that can make big plays at any time,” Harder said.
There is a lot riding on this game.
For one, a Viking win would secure a seed into the West Central District III tournament.
The Vikings (4-1 in league play) are currently in second behind Bremerton (5-0). If both teams win, the Vikings would secure the No. 2 seed into playoffs. Bremerton, which faces Olympic tonight, will take the top seed.
A No. 2 seed would mean the Vikings would have a home playoff game, something coach Jeff Weible said was a team goal this season.
Though Bremerton has secured the top seed into playoffs, there’s still a chance for the Vikings to be league co-champions. To share the title, it would require the Vikings win their last two games, and Bremerton lose one. To be champions outright, it would require two Viking wins and two Bremerton loses.
The Vikings are on a two-game winning streak. The team defeated North Mason 48-18 during NKHS’ homecoming Oct. 5. The Vikes won 41-12 over Port Angeles Oct. 12.
During the rivalry match — dubbed the Pillage and Plunder Bowl — Weible said records don’t matter as much. However, the 40-plus points scored during the Vikings’ last two games have shown a strong offensive line.
“The offensive line is working together,” Weible said. “Coming together as a unit.”
The Vikings started their season out 0-2 overall, losing to Archbishop Murphy and Bishop Blanchet. Ben Berkimer, a linebacker and “leader of the line,” blew out his knee, which Weible said hindered the team early on.
The Vikings have since returned to be one of the teams to beat, which is exactly what the Bucs will attempt tonight.
For the Bucs, it’s not about being league champions but about moving out of a tie in third. The Kingston team, which lost to Bremerton 27-0 Oct. 12, is currently tied with Olympic. If Kingston and Olympic both lose tonight, it could mean a three-way tie between Olympic and North Mason or Klahowya.
A tie for third would put Kingston in a tricky spot. The top four teams in the Olympic League move on the playoffs (Districts). The district tournament begins Nov. 2.
Fundraiser for Ian Gunnell
Donations will be accepted for Vinland Elementary student Ian Gunnell during the Pillage and Plunder Bowl tonight.