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Longtime football rivals meet as senior QBs
POULSBO — The rivalry between North Kitsap’s Cody Blackmore and Kingston’s Bobby Reece goes back before the two entered high school.
Having faced each other on the gridiron since Pee Wee football, the two varsity quarterbacks are familiar with adversity. And on Oct. 25, for the first time in their senior year, the quarterbacks from Kingston and North Kitsap high schools will go head-to-head.
“We’re finally seniors and we’re getting to play against each other,” Blackmore said Wednesday afternoon at North Kitsap Stadium.
The Kingston Buccan-eers and North Kitsap Vikings play at 7 p.m. at the Stadium. Because the Bucs are technically hosting, the Vikings will be rooting on the visiting team’s side of the field.
“It’s awesome,” Black-more said. “I plan on talking to Bobby [Reece] before the game; hyping it up a little bit. I’m excited for it, I hope he is too.”
It’s more than a rivalry game this time around.
The Bucs and Vikings are tied in conference play; the teams are 5-0. The winner of Friday’s game will be the Olympic League champions if they also win the final game, Nov. 1. If the teams are tied at the end of the regular season, the Bucs and Vikings will share the championship, but the winner of the game Friday will earn the No.1 seed into post-season.
“It’s kinda cool that we are both undefeated and playing for the title,” North’s head coach Jeff Weible said. “Winner takes all this year.
“I’m excited for it, the team’s excited for it.”
Kingston head coach Todd Harder agreed.
“We’re healthy and looking forward to the challenge,” he said. “Going to be a good game.”
The Vikings program is also looking for a little revenge.
For the past three season, the Bucs have defeated the Vikings during the cross-town rivalry known as the Pillage and Plunder Bowl.
However, after a 0-2 non-league start, the Vikings has outmatched their Olympic League opponents through September and October. The Vikings have scored no less than 31 points each game since Sept. 20 and held their opponents below 30 points since the same date. Their most recent victory was Oct. 18, with a 47-7 win over the Port Angeles Roughriders.
The Bucs need to minimize the Vikings’ “explosive offense,” Harder said. The Bucs need to avoid turnovers and maintain control.
Weible said the Vikings won’t do anything differently then they have this season. Their defense has continued to shine, with an offense that is able to get the team to an early lead.
The Bucs have had their share of success as well. Rebounding from a 48-28 loss to Squalicum in preseason, the Bucs defeated the Bainbridge Spartans 40-6. The most points the Bucs have allowed in a single game is 13. Their most recent win was a 40-6 blowout over the Bremerton Knights.
Weible said the Vikings need to stop the Bucs’ run. “That’s their bread and butter,” he said. Throwing has improved, too.
“We’ve certainly got our work cut out for us,” Weible said.
The Bucs have remained professional in their work on the gridiron, Harder said. They are focused, and have never panicked during a game. There were a few slow starts, but their character has helped them prevail, he said.
Though the Vikings have basically ended most games in the first half — relying on defense in the second to maintain the lead — it may not happen tonight against the Bucs.
“It’s certainly not something I’ve expected each week,” Weible said. “Just something that’s happened.”
Blackmore doesn’t expect it to be a blowout either way. He said the Vikings have not had much adversity this season. Now, however, the Vikings face the next best team in the league. Blackmore expects the game to be a four-quarter grind.
“We’re going to have to fight all four quarters …,” Blackmore said.
“We’ll find out who’s the best team [today],” he added.