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Vikings shown no mercy under Patriot’s act
By John R. Olson
Special to the North Kitsap Herald
RENTON - At the end of the NK Vikings football season at Renton’s Liberty Stadium Nov. 7, Head Coach Steve Frease told his seniors to go off by themselves “walk the field, talk to each other, and remember those memories.”
A 7-3 record, a state ranking, and a Div. 3-A state play-off appearance were probably among the topics.
One memory will not be the way the Vikings ended their season with a 52-17 loss handed by the Liberty High School Patriots. The home team bolted to a 21-0 lead and never looked back – except for a hiccup to begin the second half.
Frease said the Patriots were simply “a better team. They schemed us pretty well and we didn’t scheme them as well as we could have.”
NK’s season is over, while the 8-2 Patriots go on to play Saturday, Nov. 15 against the winner of the Camas-Kennedy game.
The Patriots scored three touchdowns before the Vikings managed a first down. NK eked out a 39-yard Zack Sampson field goal as time expired in the first half and trailed 24-3.
The Vikings did began the second half with much more enthusiasm.
“The kids were fired up,” Frease said. “We ran the ball and did some good things.”
On fourth and three, from the NK 46-yard line, running back Brad DeShano took a draw play, cut left, then veered right and scampered for a 54-yard TD.
The Vikings hurry-up offense was clicking as they narrowed the gap to 24-10, with 9:50 left in the third quarter. The Vikings executed an onside kick to perfection. The sideline and several hundred fans who made the long drive from Poulsbo went berserk.
But an interception crushed any momentum.
“It was a tipped ball,” Frease said. “Brandon (Huggins) was open over the middle and their kid got a hand on it. That kid (No. 5, Taylor Hamann) got his hand on two or three balls. That took the wind out of our sails.”
Several times during the game, the PA announcer invited Viking fans to the Patriot side where restrooms, concessions and the dry grandstand awaited. But he reminded Patriot fans they were “prohibited” from the Viking side.
Frease may have hoped a similar ban existed for the squadron of Liberty running backs.
Chandler Jenkins had 162 yards on 21 carries and three TDs. Greg Ericksen had seven carries for 123 yards and two TDs. John Kirksey had two carries for 100 yards. Joseph Yee had 11 carries for 77 yards. Late-game substitute Turner Chatteron had four carries for 52 yards and a touchdown.
It was that kind of night for the Patriots – that kind of nightmare for the Vikes.
“They executed the fly option, the fly sweep very well. That whole package,” Frease lamented. “We just didn’t have an answer for them. Their defense had very good schemes. So when you have those two things – good offense, good defense – you are going to win a lot of ballgames.”
The Vikings did not help their cause. Poor tackling, which hindered the Vikings during the second half of the season, played a role allowing the Patriots into the endzone seven times as they amassed more than 600 total yards.
For the Vikes, versatile playmaker Taylor Chisholm was throttled all night – except for a late flea-flicker play. Chisholm had less than 15 yards total offense rushing and receiving.
DeShano led Viking rushers with 83 yards on seven carries. Huggins led receivers with five catches for 50 yards.
Viking QB Kevin Stringer completed 14 of 29 passes for more than 175 yards. He was also on the end of several bone-rattling sacks and rough sideline play after bolting from the pocket on several occasions. But the tough senior never left the game.
Late in the game Chisholm completed a halfback option pass to Colby Cather good for 43 yards and a touchdown.
At defensive back, Alex Smith and Alex Fuchs played well knocking down several passes while covering bigger, rangier receivers.
Afterwards, Frease was philosophical about the game played on a misty evening – and about the season in general.
“What we’ve done all year, is play to the level of the team we played,” Frease said. “Except for this one. We played at PA’s level. We played to Bremerton’s level. We played to Olympic’s level.”
Frease was cautiously optimistic about the season when the team gathered in mid-August.
“You honestly never know,” Frease said. “With this group of seniors, they worked hard. So it was very easy to believe we would make a play-off. I thought we had a shot at winning the league title. We gave it a pretty good go. It we hadn’t dumped one to Olympic, it would have been a different story. We might have gotten a different draw. There are all those ‘ifs’ and ‘ands’ we’ll examine in the off-season.”
L - Greg Ericksen, 30-yard TD run (Keegan Bennett kick)
L – Richard Crespo, 8-yard TD pass from Trey Wheeler (Bennett kick)
L – Chandler Jenkins, 1-yard TD run (Bennett kick)
L - 27-yard FG by Bennett
NK – 39-yard FG by Zack Sampson
NK – Brad DeShano 54-yard TD run (Sampson kick)
L – Jenkins, 74-yard TD run (Bennett kick)
L – Jenkins, 20-yard TD run (Bennett kick)
L – Jenkins, 1-yard TD run (Bennett kick)
L – Turner Chatterton, 40-yard TD run (Bennett kick)
NK – Colby Cather, 43-yard TD pass from Chisholm (Sampson kick)