Senior running back Joshua Willis rushed 36 times for 254 yards and two touchdowns in a 41-17 victory over Olympic. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

Senior running back Joshua Willis rushed 36 times for 254 yards and two touchdowns in a 41-17 victory over Olympic. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

Central Kitsap wins first game in new stadium, 41-17 over Olympic

SILVERDALE — Central Kitsap didn’t get the first touchdown on its new home field, but it did come away with the first victory.

The Cougars fell behind early, but took over in the second quarter behind a powerhouse rushing performance from junior Joshua Willis. They scored 27 unanswered points and their lead back rushed for 254 yards and two touchdowns on 36 carries in a 41-17 victory over Olympic in the 42nd Battle of Bucklin Hill.

Willis, a 135-pound back, was as effective running between the tackles as he was jetting out to the edge. He broke off touchdown runs of 42 and 70 yards, but also got the tough yards up the middle.

Much of the preseason chatter about Central Kitsap concerned the talented defensive unit, but Willis powered the unheralded offense to a 413-yard night.

“I had to show them that we can be pretty good too,” Willis said.

Meanwhile, the defense lived up to the hype, holding a high-octane Trojans offense to 178 yards from scrimmage and three points that came on a drive that started inside its own 40 yard line. They held the fort until the offense could get going.

The unit as a whole also flashed its game-breaking ability. With the Cougars up 21-17 early in the fourth quarter, defensive back Flex Rodenhurst stepped in front of a pass and took the interception 75 yards to the house. Nigal Hardee and Eathan Dodson also had picks.

“We knew we could be the spark to our offense,” Hardee said.

The Trojans looked dominant early. On the opening kickoff, Olympic senior Malcolm Dewalt found a crease, bounced to the outside and took the kick 87 yards for a touchdown.

Then on Central Kitsap’s first offensive drive, Dewalt grabbed an errant pass for an interception and took it to the end zone for a 31-yard score. In just five minutes, the Cougars had fallen behind 14-0.

The Olympic defense continued to force mistakes early in the game. Dewalt snagged another interception in the first quarter, and a forced fumble early in the second resulted in a Joshua Kennedy 27-yard field goal.

But once the offense settled down, Central Kitsap took firm control of the game.

First-year quarterback Josh Flaugher got into a good rhythm after a tough start. Flaugher connected with tight end Jeven Keel down the middle of the field for a 17-yard touchdown in the second quarter to cut Olympic’s lead to 17-14. He then rolled to his left and hit sophomore receiver Kalai Pasi for a 17-yard strike just before the end of the first half to give his team a 21-17 lead.

Head coach Mark Keel still considers the offense a work in progress, but it’s a good sign that the game plan worked well and his quarterback was able to identify soft spots in the defense on the fly.

“The biggest thing is, our quarterback has the opportunity to audible,” Keel said. “We know where the bubbles are, he can go to it.”

Rodenhurst’s interception furthered the lead and then Willis broke away for his big 70-yard run. Backup quarterback Cristian Arcangel-Diego also got in on the action, hitting Zachary Webb for a 35-yard score in the fourth quarter to close the scoring.

“We just have to get better at finishing games,” said Olympic head coach Sal Quitevis. “It’s something we’ve talked about all offseason.”

Central Kitsap 41, Olympic 17

Oly 14 3 0 0 — 17

CK 7 14 0 20 — 41

First Quarter

Oly — Malcolm Dewalt 87 kickoff return (Kennedy kick)

Oly — Dewalt 31 interception return (Kennedy kick)

CK — Joshua Willis 42 run (Cannon kick)

Second Quarter

Oly — Joshua Kennedy 27 field goal

CK — Jeven Keel 17 pass from Joshua Flaugher (Cannon kick)

CK — Kalai Pasi 17 pass from Flaugher (Cannon kick)

Third Quarter

No scoring

Fourth Quarter

CK — Flex Rodenhurst 75 interception return (Cannon kick)

CK — Willis 70 run (Cannon kick)

CK — Zachary Webb 35 pass from Cristian Arcangel-Diego (kick miss)

Individual Stats

Rushing — CK: J. Willis 36-254, 2 TD; Almonte 1-14, M. Willis 1-7, Flaugher 1-5, Hall 1-3, Henderson 1-2. Oly: Talarico 7-33, Dewalt 8-27, Bailey 3-13, Gillick 4-12, Feistner 2-5, Andrews 2-(-9).

Passing — CK: Flaugher 7-14-89, 2 TD, 2 INT; Arcangel-Diego 1-1-35-1. Oly: Gillick 11-23-89, 3 INT.

Receiving — CK: Almonte 1-36, Webb 1-35, TD; Pasai 3-29, TD; Keel 1-17, TD; Wallis 1-4, M. Willis 1-3. Oly: Johnson 4-26, Talarico 4-25, Turso 1-25, Bailey 1-5, Dewalt 1-3.

— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at mkrulish@soundpublishing.com. Follow him on Twitter @MKrulishKDN.

More in Sports

Seattle sports teams and major event organizers issue public plea: Stay home

When the Seahawks, Mariners, Sounders FC and Storm speak, will fans heed… Continue reading

North Kitsap’s Kobe McMillian was one of three Vikings name to the AP’s 2A All-State team. McMillian and Jonas La Tour were first-team selections and Shaa Humphrey was an Honorable Mention. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Three Vikings named to Associated Press All-State teams

Sportswriters and editors from the Associated Press have selected three Vikings for… Continue reading

Shaa Humphrey
Athlete of the Week: Shaa Humphrey, North Kitsap boys basketball

North Kitsap captured its first ever boys hoops championship this past weekend,… Continue reading

Logan Chmielewski, playing for Team Cascade, opened the 18th Annual West Sound All-Star game with a pair of 3-pointers, but Team Puget Sound prevailed 90-83. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Team Puget Sound prevails at the 18th Annual West Sound Senior All-Star Games

BREMERTON — Mere days after leading one of the greatest comebacks in… Continue reading

The North Kitsap Vikings are the 2019-2020 2A boys basketball state champions. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Vikings reign! NK captures first-ever boys hoops title

North Kitsap defeated Clarkston 56-53 in the championship game

Logan Chmielewski goes up for a basket in North Kitsap’s 64-43 win over White River on Thursday. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
North Kitsap takes on No. 1 Lynden tonight in Yakima

The Vikings have won two in a row at state and now take on the defending 2A champions in the semifinals

North Kitsap’s Shaa Humphrey and Logan Chmielewski, with Jonas La Tour and Aiden Olmstead in the background, run onto the court to celebrate their comeback victory in the 2A state quarterfinals over White River. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Second half explosion propels North Kitsap into the state semifinals

Their next game is Thursday at 7:15 p.m. against No. 1 Lynden

KTAC President’s Day Racquetball tournament results

EAST BREMERTON — The Kitsap Tennis & Athletic Center recently had their… Continue reading

Central Kitsap senior Colby White finally got his chance to play at the Tacoma Dome and led his team with 17 points against Marysville-Pilchuck. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
No. 3 Marysville-Pilchuck ends Central Kitsap’s playoff run at state

TACOMA — Back in November, looking over the Central Kitsap roster and… Continue reading

Holly Beaudoin
Athlete of the Week: Holly Beaudoin, North Kitsap girls wrestling

Holly Beaudoin capped off an incredible four-year wrestling career at North Kitsap… Continue reading