Vikings leave Tornadoes in wake 45-7

YELM — The North Kitsap High Vikings raced to a 14-0 lead in the game’s opening moments and rolled to a 45-7 victory over the Yelm Tornadoes Friday night before a packed stadium of 3,000 fans.

NK Coach Steve Frease said his team would not let a repeat of last week happen when, against Timberline, the Vikings bolted to a similar early lead only to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory.

“The kids learned,” Frease said of last week’s 29-28 loss. “You can’t let down.”

Viking QB Kevin Stringer hit on 13 of 24 passes for 146 yards using a quiver of five receivers. He had three touchdown passes.

Taylor Chisholm led all receivers with five catches for 77 yards. Chisholm also proved versatile running the ball for 88 yards on eight carries.

Frease was proud of his senior QB’s leadership at the line of scrimmage.

“Did you see what was happening out there?” he said. “Kevin did a good job of audibilizing.”

The Viking’s stellar senior kicker Zack Sampson snagged a rarity in high school football when he blasted a 48-yard field goal in the third quarter, breaking his own 40-yard record. Sampson redeemed himself from the week before when he lined up a last-second field goal which would have been the winner.

“He took that personally,” Frease said of Sampson’s errant kick.

Sampson lofted kick-off after kick-off into the end zone against Yelm, while using several punting styles to keep the Tornadoes pinned deep.

Sampson, an elite youth soccer player, is getting attention from college recruiters who would rather see him kick wearing a helmet.

Yelm homecoming fans had barely settled into their seats when the Vikings ran off an eight-play, 68-yard drive, capped by a 2-yard run by Brad DeShano with 9:39 left in the first quarter.

After Yelm fumbled their first play from scrimmage, Stringer lofted a 13-yard pass to senior tight end Tolen McGregor in the end zone as the Vikings took just 10 seconds to score a second time.

The Vikings led 21-0 at the half, while fans enjoyed the Yelm homecoming court parading by the grandstand riding belching Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

The Vikings continued their own thunder into the second half, but still Frease refused to look past the resurgent Tornadoes who came into the game with a 2-1 record.

“At 31-7, I still thought we were in a little trouble,” he said after the game.

But when second string QB Jordyn Blackmore scored on a 20-yard “naked reverse” – Blackmore ran right as the entire offense scampered left — Frease playfully rapped Blackmore on his helmet after the play and the rout was on for the 3-1 Vikings.

North’s leading rusher was senior DeShano with 13 carries for 102 yards. Seven other runners helped the Vikings crank out 15 first downs.

The Tornadoes hurt their own cause on the balmy fall evening with five turnovers and numerous penalties – especially in the first half.

Yelm did score when junior back Andrew Almeida scampered 51-yards around left end with 3:01 left in the third quarter. Cat-quick running back Ed Brown, 165 pounds on a 5’9” frame, fought for tough yards all night, but rarely in the red zone.

Yelm fell to 2-2 on the season.

The Vikings will cross the Tacoma Narrows again next Friday and into Olympia’s leafy suburbs to play North Thurston – which clobbered hapless Port Angeles last Friday 49-7. The Rams are unbeaten in Olympic League/Western Cascade Division play.

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