Kingston running back Sam Reber breaks through the East Jefferson defense. Reber led the Bucs in rushing in their 12-7 victory. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

Kingston running back Sam Reber breaks through the East Jefferson defense. Reber led the Bucs in rushing in their 12-7 victory. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

Kingston wins 1st game in defensive battle

As the clock wound down and Kingston’s first victory of the season was a certainty, the team had a chance to relish the situation.

After a stop on fourth down, the Bucs took over possession with about a minute left in the game. They got into victory formation and took the requisite kneel-downs.

It was the perfect end to a hard-fought win — almost. The celebratory Gatorade bath missed its intended target. But that didn’t damper the spirit of the players and coaches following Kingston’s 12-7 win over East Jefferson on Friday.

“Feels fantastic,” said Kingston coach Billy Russo, his first at the helm of the program. “It was a big stepping stone, a big win for these guys.”

The Bucs could have had more than just the 12 points — they had two touchdowns called back on holding penalties, including one on their opening drive — but they would always find a way to press on in the face of adversity.

“We keep seeing flashes, we just have to learn how to finish [those drives],” Russo said.

They got another shot at the end zone midway through the first quarter and were able to break through. Quarterback Kyler Coe-Yarr swung a pass out to Kade Claymore, who evaded a couple of defenders and took it to the house from 16 yards out.

Coe-Yarr finished the game with 113 yards passing and running combined. Claymore had three receptions for 31 yards.

But it was a low-scoring affair as yards were hard to come by for both teams. “They did a great job adjusting and taking away our key plays,” Russo said.

The defensive units dominated, and Kingston’s ended up providing the game-winning score. As East Jefferson running back Gerald Lindsey ran to the left, the ball came loose. It was scooped up by Lief Nelson, who rumbled 22 yards for a touchdown.

Kingston recovered two more fumbles in the game — one by William Zacher and the other by Josh Robison — and also recovered a muffed punt. The defense nearly pitched a shutout, allowing only a late-fourth quarter touchdown by Lonnie Kenney on a quarterback sneak.

The victory improves Kingston’s record to 1-2 on the season with another good matchup against Port Angeles next week. Russo said he and his staff have been working hard to build the foundation to turn the program around. “They’re buying in and it looks good,” Russo said.

Kingston 12, East Jefferson 7

EJ 0 0 0 7 — 7

KN 6 0 6 0 — 12

Scoring Summary

First Quarter

Kingston — Kade Claymore 16 pass from Kyler Coe-Yarr (conversion failed)

Third Quarter

Kingston — Lief Nelson 22 fumble recovery return (conversion failed)

Fourth Quarter

East Jefferson — Lonnie Kenney 4 run (kick good)

Individual Statistics

Passing — Kingston: Coe-Yarr 8-24-72, TD, 2 INT; Claymore 0-1-0. East Jefferson: Kenney 1-7-17; Lawson 0-3-0.

Rushing — Kingston: Reber 16-43; Coe-Yarr 6-39; Nelson 8-19; Claymore 5-9; Setterlund 1(-6). East Jefferson: Jones 22-96; Kenney 2-8, TD; Lindsey 2-5; Massie 2-3; Cerna 2(-2); Lawson 3-(-13).

Receiving — Kingston: Claymore 3-31, TD; Turgeon 2-25; Setterlund 1-8; Baze 1-5; Nelson 1-5. East Jefferson: Lindsay, 1-17.

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