Sophomore receiver Ja’Quirious Conley is tackled by the defense after a 13-yard reception. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

Cougars rout Trojans 40-7 in season opener | Prep football

BREMERTON — A deep, fast, athletic Central Kitsap squad had no trouble in the Battle for Bucklin Hill, dispatching its closest rival, Olympic High School, in a 40-7 rout at Silverdale Stadium.

The Cougars were generous in spreading the ball around to a deep stable of athletes — seven different players rushed for double-digit yards, racking up a total of 198 on the ground.

“It’s fun that we finally have some depth,” said Central Kitsap head coach Mark Keel. “We have some athletic guys that can run. Our goal offensively is to find a mismatch and we found that a couple of times tonight and we took advantage of it.”

The defense also did its fair share of damage, led by senior defensive back Darickus Welborne, who forced a fumble that led to the Cougars opening score and intercepted a pass by Olympic quarterback Ezekiel Gillick and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown.

“He’s going to be big-time for us,” said Keel of his star defensive back. “We didn’t have to use him so much on offense this week, but we plan to work him into the offensive game plan a lot more, too.”

Those two turnovers led to points — after the forced fumble, senior running back Garrett Hall capped off a short drive with a 1-yard touchdown. Welborne’s interception on Olympic’s next drive made it 13-0 before some had even settled into their seats.

The Cougars then forced another Olympic punt and scored on the subsequent drive when junior quarterback Bradley Dykstra hit junior receiver Alex Refilong in stride for a 30-yard touchdown.

Dykstra, starting his first game for the Cougars, threw for 109 yards on five completions, including another touchdown pass later in the game to another candidate for a breakout season in sophomore Ja’Quirious Conley. The six-foot, 185 pound wide receiver out-jumped his defender and broke through two more on his way to the end zone and a 49-yard score.

“Conley is going to make a lot of big plays for us,” said Keel. “He’s only a sophomore, but he’s big, physical, fast, can jump and he’s got great hands.”

The Trojans found offensive success at different points throughout the game, but rarely could string it all together to put points on the board until sophomore Malcom Dewalt broke free down the left side and scored and 83-yard touchdown. The The Trojans managed 164 rushing yards and Gillick completed eight passes for 96 yards, but the Central Kitsap defense came up with timely plays to keep its opponent off the board for most of the night.

“We played well tonight,” said Cougars running back Diego McFayden. “We played with a lot of energy and we came out and executed our game plan perfectly.”

Up next:

Central Kitsap (1-0) faces a good test in the 2A North Kitsap (1-0) squad, which defeated Bainbridge 42-21 on Sept. 1.

Olympic (0-1) plays its first home game of the year against Bainbridge (0-1).

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

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