POULSBO — For the first play of North Kitsap’s rivalry game against South, North Kitsap kick returner Patrick Gilbert caught the ball at the 15, then weaved his way upfield.
Gilbert eluded the Wolves’ tacklers. His blockers plowed forward. And the North Kitsap fans, who filled the stands to which the 0-5 Vikings take on their rivals from the South, started cheering.
Gilbert was finally brought down at the 50. He and the kick-return team united and marched off the field to cheers.
Unfortunately, it was downhill from there as North was handed a 47-0 loss by its rival from the South.
South Kitsap’s offensive hub, running back Ryan Cole, burst forward during the second play of the Wolves’ second drive and weaved his way left, then slashed to the right.
Fifty-eight yards later, Cole had his first touchdown and South had a 7-0 lead.
Later in the first quarter, after a Vikings’ drive showed brief promise then sputtered, Cole struck again.
This time he scampered a mere 31 yards for a score.
After Cole’s second touchdown run, North strung together its finest drive of the evening.
Staring on their own 17, the Vikings rolled their way up the field.
Running back James Smith managed a 360-degree spin, then bulled forward into his blockers to pick up six; quarterback Chad Foster picked up necessary yards on a fourth-and-one, rolling then running to gain four. And a facemask call on the Wolves helped the Vikings march further down the field.
But the Vikings needed two yards on a fourth-and-two from the Wolves’ 12, and Smith was bowled over by a host of Wolves before he reached it.
After that it was all South Kitsap.
Cole scored a third touchdown before the half ended, this time hopping away from a reaching NK defender and running nine yards for a score.
South had a 21-0 lead as halftime ended. In the second half they added to it.
Cole burst away from a diving NK defensive back, then ran 50 yards untouched to score his fourth touchdown of the game.
Later in the third, SK quarterback Travis Vetters hit tight end Josh Meekers for a 19-yard strike in the end zone.
In the fourth quarter, backup quarterback Jared Stevenson kept the ball and punched it into the end zone for South’s sixth touchdown of the game.
It was 41-0.
And running back Lorenzo Bryant managed a 13-yard run to inch South Kitsap’s margin of victory closer to 50.
The Wolves won 47-0.
For Vikings coach Jerry Parrish, the game was an opportunity to look at some of the talented younger players on the team.
While Smith once again proved the mainstay at running back, gaining 94 yards, Parrish ran plays for Nic Stearns, Jeremiah Doehne, and Mike Good, two sophomores and a junior respectively.
“They’ve earned it; they’re better than the older ones,” Parrish said. “One thing I can say about the young kids is that they have a great attitude.”
As for the current team, Parrish is less optimistic.
“We practice, we practice, we practice, but the kids aren’t doing a good job of translating that to the game,” he said. “Maybe that’s my coaching. But the thing that’s disappointing is that we haven’t improved.”
Even with a winless team, Parrish saw glimpses of light — however faint — at the end of the tunnel.
“I see potential in the young kids,” he said.