PURDY — South Kitsap is not scheduled to play Peninsula next season.
For the Wolves, that might have been the best news in the aftermath of their 45-3 nonleague loss Sept. 11 at Roy Anderson Field.
South (1-1) was outscored 88-3 during the two-year series against the Seahawks.
“It wasn’t one thing you can put your finger on,” South coach Gavin Kralik said. “We’ve definitely got to get better, but … they outplayed us in all phases.”
The running game might be a good starting point. Peninsula (1-1) produced 249 yards and three touchdowns on 36 carries. The Seahawks’ 6.9 yards per carry nearly was identical to their production last year against the Wolves.
“I’m more concerned about us pass protecting,” Kralik said when asked about his team’s struggles to stop the run. “I feel like our offense didn’t sustain drives, especially early on. Our defense was on the field for a long time and so that contributed to being difficult to get off the field at times on defense.”
South went three-and-out during its first possession and only produced five first downs during the opening half. Senior quarterback Jake Taylor, who completed 17 of 40 passes for 163 yards and was intercepted twice, looked strong at times, including a 16-yard completion to classmate Cole Craner during the second period. But earlier in the quarter, Taylor and his receivers could not connect on a pair of deep passes that could have resulted in touchdowns.
“We’re a little off,” Kralik said. “No question about it.”
And the Seahawks capitalized. Peninsula scored on 4 of 5 first-half possessions. After a 20-yard field goal by junior Danny Jackson in the first quarter, the Seahawks added three touchdowns before the intermission. Junior Evan Johnson and senior Armon Weaver scored on 2- and 5-yard runs, respectively. Peninsula’s final score of the half came on a 37-yard screen pass from junior Ryder Johnson to classmate Cameron Lewis.
Enter the defense.
The Seahawks, who put consistent pressure on Taylor, took advantage of that to open the second half when he was intercepted by junior safety Blake Cantu, who returned it 22 yards for a touchdown.
“That was a major emphasis all week to be able to create pressure,” Peninsula coach Ross Filkins said. “I feel good about the growth we demonstrated on the d-line.”
Lewis, who had a game-high 136 yards on 17 carries, extended the Seahawks’ lead to 38-0 late in the third quarter on a 5-yard run. The running clock was activated when Ryder Johnson found junior wide receiver Deboreae McClain for a 21-yard touchdown pass with 9 minutes, 20 seconds remaining in the game.
The Wolves’ lone points came with 40 seconds remaining when Kralik eschewed going for it on fourth-and-goal at Peninsula’s 4-yard line. Instead, senior Nolan Souza converted a 20-yard field goal.
“Our kids worked hard to get down the field and I felt like we owed it to them to get some points on the field and have something to show for that drive,” Kralik said.
Kralik felt his team competed and displayed “good body language,” which he said was a significant improvement from when he coached the team’s spring practices. But much more progression is needed before South’s next game Sept. 18 at Olympia.
“It’s not as much about Olympia and traveling down there as it is us fixing ourselves right now,” Kralik said.
Even though he inherited a program that has produced losing records in three of the last five seasons, Kralik refused to concede that outcomes, such as Peninsula, were an inherent function of a rebuilding process.
“I wouldn’t say that,” Kralik said. “This is a bit of adversity we hit now, but we’re going to work and get better and be a different program next week.”
At Peninsula 45, South Kitsap 3
South Kitsap 0 0 0 3 – 3
Peninsula 3 21 14 7 – 45
P-Danny Jackson 20 FG
P-Evan Johnson 2 run (Jackson kick)
P-Armon Weaver 5 run (Jackson kick)
P-Cameron Lewis 37 pass from Ryder Johnson (Jackson kick)
P-Blake Cantu 22 INT return (Jackson kick)
P-Lewis 5 run (Jackson kick)
P-Deboreae McClain 21 pass from R. Johnson (Jackson kick)
SK-Nolan Souza 26 FG
Passing-Jake Taylor (SK) 17-40-2-163, R. Johnson (GH) 9-19-0-161.
Rushing-Izaiah Davis (SK) 7-56, Taylor (SK) 7–29, Deandre Matanane (SK) 2-7, Connor Seaton (SK) 3-3, Lewis (P) 17-136, E. Johnson (P) 7-46, R. Johnson (P) 3-7, Komisi Siolo (P) 3-19, Weaver (P) 1-5, Kenny Easton (P) 5-36.
Receiving-Seaton (SK) 1-2, Drew Kalilimoku (SK) 4-73, Dajshon Keel (SK) 1-4, Cole Craner (SK) 3-20, Casey Ogan (SK) 1-3, JD Jones (SK) 1-3, Jackson Kambich (SK) 1-4, Casey Carter (SK) 1-20, E. Johnson (P) 1-9, McClain (P) 2-33, Austyn Thompson (P) 1–1, Cantu (P) 1-15, Lewis (P) 2-70, Jake Filkins (P) 1-19, Tyree Hogan (P) 1-16.