SILVERDALE — It took nine years of cooling its heels, but on Sept. 9 North Kitsap got to avenge a historic embarrassment with the Vikings’ surprise 34-13 win over 3A Central Kitsap.
After a slightly listless first half that saw them go into halftime trailing 13-7, North Kitsap exploded on a 27-0 second-half run, turning what had been a close battle into a runaway.
On that night, North Kitsap Coach Jeff Weible celebrated his team’s heart.
“Our kids just really believe they are a good football team and can compete with anybody,” Weible said to reporters after the game.
North Kitsap entered the game with a 10th-place statewide 2A ranking.
A few days later, Weible was a bit more measured in his assessment of his team’s performance.
“We didn’t have a very good week of practice,” he said. “We need to work hard at maintaining a good attitude and using practice to really get better.”
When the teams last met in 2007, it was the 2A Vikings that were embarrassed 35-12 by the Cougars. With no scheduled meetings, there was a score to be settled. North Kitsap took advantage of a second half in which everything seemed to fall their way.
The first half of Friday’s game started slowly, with a scoreless first quarter. On the opening play of the second quarter, Central Kitsap quarterback Diego McFayden fumbled and handed over possession to NK at the Cougar 14-yard-line. On the next play, Sam Henden ran a 14-yard swept right to give the Vikings a brief 7-0 lead.
Trailing 7-0, the Cougars executed a fake punt, and punter Caleb Wood sprinted downfield to the North Kitsap 15, setting up McFayden’s 15-yard run to close to within 1. North Kitsap opted for a two-point conversion, which failed, leaving Central with a 7-6 lead. Shortly afterward, CK’s Tyler Tubbs hit receiver Hunter Stringer on a 29-yard scoring strike, giving the Cougars a 13-7 halftime lead.
Then, somehow, the switch got flipped. From the start of the second half, North Kitsap came aive, aided by three Central Kitsap turnovers. North Kitsap capitalized each time, turning a close contest into a Viking track meet: A 24-yard pass from Tristan Newman to Jon Sedy; a Newman one-yard punch; Sedy’s 50-yard interception return; and finally Nate Kjormoe’s scoring run from 7 yards out.
Sedy, understandably, was crowing. “It doesn’t matter what league you’re in.” he said. “We’re coming for you.”
North Kitsap travels to Port Angeles next to kick off Olympic League 2A play. At 1-1, CK hosts North Thurston in the in the 3A South Sound Conference.
Central Kitsap coach Mark Keel was gracious and philosophical a few days later.
“Thank God it was a non-league game,” Keel said. “We just beat ourselves with mistakes.”
For Weible, the focus is now on, well, focus. “The kids need to be reminded is that what happens Monday through Thursday determines what happens on Friday night,” he said. “We need to focus and make our practices as efficient as possible.”