FOOTBALL | Olympia steamrolls South Kitsap

Gunther gouges Wolves for 249 yards, four touchdowns in 48-7 setback

OLYMPIA — South Kitsap’s error-riddled play did not prove to be too detrimental.

At least for 12 minutes.

Numerous mistakes caught up with the Wolves after that as they surrendered 35 points during the second quarter en route to a 48-7 Class 4A Narrows League loss Sept. 18 against Olympia at Ingersoll Stadium.

The result was a running clock for the duration of the second half as South (1-2 overall, 0-1 league) lost against the Bears for the eighth time in nine years since the series resumed on an annual basis in 2007.

Almost nothing went right for the Wolves from the start as senior quarterback Jake Taylor twice was intercepted during the opening period. But Olympia (3-0, 2-0) only capitalized on the second one, which senior linebacker Sam Bochsler corralled at South’s 45-yard line. Two plays later, senior quarterback Jack Bell found senior wide receiver David Woodward on a 51-yard screen pass to give Olympia a 7-0 lead.

“I felt like the defense played their hearts out early on and we didn’t get it done on offense and the kicking game,” said South coach Gavin Kralik, referring to senior Nolan Souza’s blocked 38-yard blocked field-goal attempt in the first quarter. “Ultimately, that’s on me.

“If we make those plays I think it’s a different ballgame. We didn’t do that and dug ourselves a big hole.”

The Wolves avoided too much damage early as the Bears’ other three possessions resulted in two interceptions — both by senior cornerback Kadon Anderson — and a punt.

But Olympia was not as generous during the second quarter. Junior running back Scott Gunther, who rushed for 249 yards on 19 carries, added three touchdowns during that period and the Bears reached the end zone twice more on a pair of blocked punts.

“We didn’t protect it the right way,” Kralik said. “It was a technique issue. We had three blockers versus two rushers and we didn’t get it done there.”

Senior Joel Jones returned the first one 44 yards for a touchdown, while the second was recovered at South’s 18. Two plays later, junior Zaiden Hernandez scored on a 14-yard run.

The Bears added their final touchdown just two plays into the second half when Gunther reached the end zone for a fourth time on a 62-yard run. Olympia pulled its starters at that point.

The Wolves went a different direction.

Taylor, who completed completed 14 of 32 passes for 213 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions, played the duration. He helped South break a six-quarter scoreless drought when he found another starter, senior wide receiver Izaijha Byrd, for a 17-yard touchdown pass with 23 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

Kralik, who had four players miss the first two weeks because they were academically ineligible, said he left his starters in because they needed extra work.

“I think it’s just about we’ve got to get better at football,” he said. “The bottom line is we can’t waste opportunities to get better.”

Even with Gunther out, the Wolves struggled to contain the Bears’ running game. Olympia had 371 yards and five touchdowns on 43 carries. During the previous week, South surrendered 249 rushing yards at Peninsula. But Kralik said his team’s inability to protect Taylor, and struggles in the kicking game and running the ball were much larger issues.

“We’ve got to breakdown every minute detail of this game and get better,” he said.

South next has that opportunity Sept. 25 against Yelm at Kitsap Bank Stadium. The Tornados (2-1, 0-1), who suffered a 35-21 setback Sept. 18 against Timberline, seemingly have improved every year since they transitioned from 3A to 4A Narrows in 2012. But Kralik said that is not his focus.

“Our biggest opponent is ourselves,” he said. “We’ve got to go out and have a great week of preparation.”

That is the reality for a team that has been outscored 93-10 during the last two weeks. Despite those issues, Taylor said he will do his part to ensure the team remains a close-knit group.

“It sucks,” he said. “That hurt.

“But you’ve got to let them know, ‘Hey, you are my brother.’ I would do anything for them.”

• Senior linebacker Walter Shaw was carted off the field with about 5 minutes left in first quarter. Kralik said afterward that he broke the fibula and tibia in his leg.

At Olympia 48, South Kitsap 7

South Kitsap 0 0 7 0 7

Olympia 7 35 6 0 48

First Quarter

O-David Woodward 51 pass from Jack Bell (Skyler Davis kick)

Second Quarter

O-Scott Gunther 3 run (kick failed)

O-Joel Jones 44 blocked punt return (pass conversion)

O-Zaiden Hernandez 14 run (Davis kick)

O-Gunther 36 run (Davis kick)

O-Gunther 1 run (Davis kick)

Third Quarter

O-Gunther 62 run (pass failed)

SK-Izaijha Byrd 17 pass from Jake Taylor (Nolan Souza kick)

Individual statistics

Passing-Jake Taylor (SK) 14-32-4-213, Jack Bell (O) 4-7-2-89, Ketner Young (O) 2-2-0-20.

Rushing-Taylor (SK) 8–20, Izaiah Davis (SK) 10-15, Scott Gunther (O) 19-249, David Woodward (O) 3–8, Connor Clark (O) 8-31, Zaiden Hernandez (O) 2-27, Owen Shea (O) 3-33, Jaden Toussaint (O) 3-33, Skyler Davis (O) 1–1, Jake Mercer (O) 3-7, Bell (O) 1-0.

Receiving-Drew Kalilimoku (SK) 4-32, Izaijha Byrd (SK) 4-103, Cole Craner (SK) 2-11, Albert MacArthur (SK) 3-38, Casey Carter (SK) 1-29, Woodward (O) 3-81, Marcus Miller (O) 1-8, Toussaint (O) 1-13, Shea (O) 1-7.