EAST BREMERTON — Central Kitsap had to get a little creative this year in order to get the ball into the hands of its two best athletes.
Alex Refilong and Elijah McGee converted to running back and quarterback respectively this season, and they led the way in 2018’s Battle of Bucklin Hill as the Cougars rolled past Olympic 33-14.
Refilong carried 20 times for 154 yards and two touchdowns, while McGee added two scores and 141 rushing yards.
Central Kitsap started strong and finished strong, finding the end zone on their first two possessions of the game and dominating a tiring Trojans team in the fourth quarter to pull away for the win.
“It was a mystery with all these young guys,” head coach Mark Keel said, “but it seemed like they pulled together in the second half and started playing some good football.”
The Cougars marched straight down the field on its opening drive, and McGee connected with Jeven Keel for a 5-yard touchdown. McGee took the next one in himself, giving his team a 13-0 lead late in the first quarter.
Olympic fought back, and the right arm of Zeke Gillick led the way. The junior signal caller completed 16 of 24 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns. The Trojans were able to spread out the Central Kitsap defense and get their talented, athletic receivers into open space.
Darelle White took a short pass 41 yards to the house to cut the lead to 13-7 before halftime, and the Trojans actually took the lead early in the third on a Gillick 45-yard touchdown pass to Adam Johnson, who finished the night with seven receptions for 102 yards.
But Central Kitsap eventually wore down Olympic. In the late stages, the Cougars were finally able to get pressure on Gillick. Jason Raucher picked up two sacks in the fourth quarter and Ty Callao-Zeman had one as well.
Olympic coach Sal Quitevis noted his team wasn’t quite in game shape, a problem compounded by the fact that a few players missed time in the second half. The team spent a week inside during the smoky conditions that affected Kitsap County and was unable to participate in a jamboree.
“We ran out of steam. We ran out of players,” Quitevis said. “Once we get into that next level, we’re talking sophomores … we’re not a deep team.”
On the drive after Olympic took the lead, Refilong answered back for the Cougars with a 38-yard touchdown run. The 5-foot-7, 165-pound back was steady all night and surprisingly tough to bring down. Refilong added a second score with three minutes left in the game.
“Our o-line was opening up huge holes for him,” McGee said, “and he was breaking tackles, too; he’s strong.”
Central Kitsap 33, Olympic 14
CK 13 0 6 14 — 33
Oly 0 7 7 0 — 14
CK — Keel 5 pass from McGee (Cannon kick)
CK —McGee 6 run (kick failed)
Oly — White 41 pass from Gillick (Kennedy kick)
Oly — Johnson 45 pass from Gillick (Kennedy kick)
CK — Refilong 38 run (kick failed)
CK — McGee 23 run (Cannon kick)
CK — Refilong 5 run (Cannon kick)
Rushing — CK: Refilong 20-154, 2 TD; McGee 16-141, 2 TD; Willis 8-71, Almonte 1-1. Oly: Bailey 5-16, White 8-13, Turso 1-4, Feister 2-3, Gillick 4-2, Dewalt 1-0.
Passing — CK: McGee 4-10-38, TD. Oly: Gillick 16-24-286, 2 TD; Turso 1-2-1, INT.
Receiving — CK: Guevara 1-13, Refilong 1-12, Webb 1-8, Keel 1-5, TD. Oly: Johnson 7-102, TD; White 6-110, TD; Dewalt 3-64, Bailey 1-11.