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NK tops Bainbridge in season opener, 33-7
POULSBO — Redemption is sweeter than a grape Popsicle on a sweltering day.
The North Kitsap High Vikings football team got a taste of that sweetness during its season-opener game against the Spartans of Bainbridge Island.
On Saturday evening at a packed-to-capacity North Kitsap Stadium, the energy was electric. The crowd was rowdy, and even several minutes after the game started a concert-style line formed to access the entrance. The band was jammin’ and the cheerleaders danced with every bit of energy they had.
The Vikes football players tapped into the pulsing excitement, defeating the Spartans 33-7, marking the first time the Vikes won the heightened rivalry game in four years.
“I think the energy is more extreme than in past years. Last year we were more bummed out about the split but we’ve had a year to recover and are more into school spirit and sports,” said senior purple-and-gold-clad Cami Krema. “They’re doing amazing right now. I think it’s awesome we’re kicking Bainbridge’s (butt). I think that’s helped the spirit a lot.”
The first quarter of play came and went with little action. However, the second quarter’s momentum belonged to the Vikes, who captured it and turned it into back-to-back touchdowns, less than three minutes apart.
The quarter opened with Spartan possession, which lasted for approximately one play.
Viking junior defensive linebacker Tolen McGregor rushed for the quarterback sack, and in doing so he also snagged the ball and moved it a few yards to boot.
The crowd was on their feet cheering so loudly the announcer was yelling to be heard.
In less than five minutes the Vikes rushed and passed its way to the one. At the snap senior quarterback Kevin Stringer handed the ball off to junior runningback Josh McCown, who bulldozed his way up the middle and into the end zone at minute mark 7:59. The field goal was short.
Then some serious deja vu occurred.
The Vikings defensive line was similar to a rodeo bull that refused to be tamed or tinkered with. It was crazy aggressive.
“The defense had an outstanding game,” said head coach Steve Frease. “They set the tone for the game, forcing turnovers and holding Bainbridge to three and outs. Bainbridge’s strength is ball control. They had a few drives but we were able to stop most of them.”
As soon at the Spartans regained possession, senior linebacker Luis Serrato bucked his way through the offensive line and nailed a tackle, shoving the Spartans back seven.
The Spartans eventually broke through for the first down, but that’s where it stopped.
Once again McGregor dug in, got the sack and the ball: possession Vikings.
About four plays later senior runningback Brad DeShano found the end zone as the clock struck 5:18. The kick was good, 13-0 Vikings.
“It was almost like the dam broke,” Frease said of the back-to-back touchdowns. “We pushed. A fumble happened and we saw that we could score and we took advantage of it.”
The Spartans broke through with 2:25 left in the second quarter to get on the scoreboard. However, before the quarters end, the Vikes polished off its second quarter run with one more touchdown. At minute 1:24 Stringer connected a nearly 30-yard pass to a wide open and waiting senior runningback Tony Chisholm, who ran it in.
The Vikes capped its scores with a Chisholm third quarter touchdown and two Zach Sampson field goals in the fourth. Sampson’s first fourth quarter effort broke a school record, as the ball sailed through the posts from 40 yards out.
“They definitely left it on the field,” Frease said. “It’s very satisfying. It feels great.”
The Vikes take on Kingston this Friday at the NK Stadium at 7 p.m., and look forward to the inner-district rivalry game. Both teams are headed in with 1-0 records.