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Viking defense halts Buccaneer effort on the gridiron
POULSBO — A cross-town rivalry could’ve gone better for Kingston.
However, the outcome of the North Kitsap High versus Kingston Buccaneer football game spelled resounding victory for the Vikes and a learning platform for the Bucs.
On Friday night at a jam-packed North Kitsap Stadium, the Vikings manhandled the Buccaneers, 52-6.
But it didn’t look as though a 46-point spread game was about to ensue.
After Kingston’s first offensive and defensive plays it appeared as though the non-league, inter-district rivalry football game could’ve resulted in a favorable Buccaneer outcome.
The Bucs gained 13 yards in their first offensive carry and completed a seven-yard pass for the first down. On the defensive coin Kingston’s first effort led to a Viking quarterback sack and regaining possession of the ball in less than two and a half minutes.
“I thought after the first offensive and defensive plays we were in for a dogfight all night,” said Vikings’ head football coach Steve Frease.
However, that’s where Kingston’s spark fizzled, and was eventually permanently snuffed out by the Vikings’ defense.
Slightly more than 10 seconds after Kingston’s offense touched the pigskin for the second time Friday night, the Vikings’ defense put the stops on Kingston’s passing game. Kingston quarterback Paul Bagala’s pass was blocked and bounced into the ready and waiting grasp of North’s Tolen McGregor.
But all wasn’t lost for Kingston.
The Buc defense prevented the Vikes from securing a much-needed first down and within four plays forced the Vikes to kick a field goal.
From 39 yards out North’s Zach Sampson aimed perfectly between the posts, putting the Vikes up 3-0 with 6:35 left in the first quarter.
With Kingston back in possession once again it looked promising.
Instantly Buccaneer junior running-back Travis Schriner sprinted 11 yards up the middle for the first-play first down.
However, it wasn’t to be.
“Our defense really stepped up and set the tone for the game,” Frease said. “They gave us excellent field position and got us the ball that enabled us to score.”
The Viking defense held Kingston to 16 yards, forcing the punt in four plays.
Then the pace quickened and North never let up.
Less than 30 seconds after the Vikes were back in control, North’s senior quarterback Travis Stringer found senior running-back Taylor Chisholm. The duo combined for a 37-yard touchdown pass. The kick was good, 10-0 Vikings, 4:26 left in the first quarter.
“We lost our focus after that,” said Buccaneer head coach Dan Novick. “We didn’t feel like we ever got an opportunity to gain momentum. At no point did we feel like we had things on our side.”
The Vikings closed the first quarter with a Stringer to McGregor 45-yard touchdown pass.
The game continued in this fashion for the next three quarters, as Kingston only blocked and carried its way into Viking territory once.
“North Kitsap is a very experienced, senior-laden team and that showed,” Novick said. “Our kids were outmatched in terms of depth and experience and we were out-executed in that game.”
The Vikes continued to tally the points as Stringer connected a 24-yard pass to senior runningback Luis Serrato in the second quarter, followed nine minutes later by a 30-yard touchdown pass to Chisholm, who ran it in from about the 12 yard line, flicking Kingston’s defense out of the way like fleas.
In the third quarter Chisholm rushed 10 yards for another touchdown, Serrato ran in a touchdown and senior running-back Mack Kunold rushed 52 yards for the Vikes’ final scoring effort.
Leading by 45, North subbed out its key players, and Kingston got on the board with 4:17 left in the game, as Schriner rushed to end zone.
Needless to say it was a tough game for the Bucs. But it’s a game Novick hopes they’ll learn from, as once things got ugly for the Bucs its effort waned.
“The most important thing is we need to play 48 minutes and not let the scoreboard or circumstances determine our effort level,” Novick said. “We have to do a better job as coaches of coaching our effort level into our kids.”
On Friday North plays Timberline at the NK Stadium and on Saturday the Bucs play Bainbridge at the NK Stadium. Both games start at 7 p.m.