Klahowya receiver Jacob Keppert (80) slips away from the tackle of a Bellevue Christian defender during his team’s 14-7 loss on Oct. 28. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

Klahowya receiver Jacob Keppert (80) slips away from the tackle of a Bellevue Christian defender during his team’s 14-7 loss on Oct. 28. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

Klahowya falls 14-7 to Bellevue Christian | Prep Football

The Eagles needed to win to keep its faint playoff hopes alive.

BREMERTON — A couple of key mistakes and a questionable call to take a touchdown off the board spelled doom for Klahowya on Senior Night.

The Eagles did their best to keep alive faint hopes of making the playoffs, but in a game against Bellevue Christian they needed to win to keep pace with Charles Wright Academy, they fell short, 14-7, on Oct. 27.

One of the game’s defining moments was a 14-yard touchdown run by Klahowya’s Hunter Wallis that was called back. On the play, officials deemed a Klahowya player to have helped Wallis into the end zone by wrapping his arms around his waist and pulling him. However, there were no Viking defenders in the vicinity of Wallis, leading Klahowya head coach Dan Ericson to argue against the call because no advantage was gained.

The touchdown would have tied the game at 7 with a few minutes remaining in the first half. But despite the decision — Ericson reaffirmed after the game that he believed it should not have been made — the coach also noted his team made too many mistakes to overcome.

“We made some critical errors, and we gave them their first touchdown with an interception,” said Ericson. “The kids played hard, but you’re not going to win too many games when you make mistakes like that.”

Klahowya trailed for much of the night as that interception by Bellevue Christian’s Trent Paulson on the second play of the game gave the Vikings the ball at the 2-yard line. Two plays later, running back Ike Schneidler punched it in from one yard out.

The Eagles did have success moving the football, particularly through the air — quarterback John Hartford threw for 156 yards, completing 12 of 21 passes. His top target was Andrew Dickson who caught six passes for 92 yards and a score, and their fourth quarter connection tied the game at 7.

However, the Vikings answered back on the next drive. After converting on a key fourth down play in which quarterback Mick Larsen escaped a heavy pass rush to complete a 12-yard pass, he rolled into the end zone for a 13-yard score to put Bellevue Christian back ahead.

“The defense played well enough to win, but we had that critical missed sack that was on a fourth down play,” said Ericson. “That was a huge play for us, but we did play well enough to win on that side of the ball.”

Klahowya has one game remaining against Chimacum, and that will close the book on a 2017 season in which the team was reassembled from the ground up after losing 29 seniors to graduation. There is certainly some optimism in Silverdale for next year’s team, especially within a defensive unit that will lose only two players and held four of its Nisqually opponents to two touchdowns or less.

“We’ve got to always find a way to be physical,” said Ericson. “That starts in the weight room, and we have to get our big guys going in there. We have one game left and then we’ll see what next year brings.”

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

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