Klahowya quarterback John Hartford rolls to his left against North Mason. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

Klahowya quarterback John Hartford rolls to his left against North Mason. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

Klahowya loses tough game in overtime

EAST BREMERTON — The Eagles had plenty of fight in them, but in the end, North Mason had a size and strength advantage they just couldn’t overcome.

Bulldogs running back Reece Smelcer bulled his way into the end zone for a 9-yard score in overtime to hand Klahowya a 20-14 loss in its home opener on Sept. 6 at Silverdale Stadium.

The physical differences in the two teams were stark — the North Mason offensive line featured players who were 250 to 300 pounds each. The much smaller Eagles had a tough time stopping the Bulldogs’ power running game. The 200-pound Smelcer rushed for 135 yards and two scores, and North Mason also used 250-pound Dylan Tupolo 17 times. He picked up an additional 79 yards.

By contrast, Klahowya has just one player listed above 250 pounds and only a handful even above 200.

“Our guys had tremendous fight,” head coach Dan Ericson said.

Both teams made their share of mistakes. A botched punt led to North Mason’s first touchdown of the game, an 8-yard run by Smelcer. Klahowya then forced a fumble on the Bulldogs’ second possession, but could not take advantage of the turnover.

“Was it clean? No,” Ericson said. “We made mistakes, both sides did. But we just kept playing.”

Klahowya was occasionally able to find a good rhythm offensively, but for much of the game those moments were few and far between. Up until the fourth quarter, a pair of Drew Dickson field goals were the extent of its scoring output.

“Offensively, we struggled,” Ericson said. “It’s very difficult to run the ball against a front like that. When teams can play two safeties on our passing game and still control the inside, we’re tied up a little bit.”

But a high number of penalties committed by North Mason sabotaged several offensive drives in the second half and helped keep Klahowya in the game.

The Eagles finally got the big play they were looking for late in regulation. Quarterback John Hartford rolled left on a broken play and connected with Hayden Steele, who took the ball 46 yards for a touchdown. Hartford hit Chase Templeton on an out route for a two-point conversion to tie the game.

North Mason got one final drive, but Hartford intercepted a long pass by quarterback Shawn Ward to ensure overtime.

“I think we earned some fans tonight. I think the little Eagles were scrappy out there. I’m proud to be their coach. We came up on the wrong end, but that’s the way you want kids to respond to adversity in sports and in life.”

North Mason 20, Klahowya 14 (OT)

NM 7 7 0 0 7 — 20

KL 3 0 3 8 0 — 14

First Quarter

NM — Smelcer 8 run (Thomas kick)

KL — Dickson 24 field goal

Second Quarter

NM — Ward 1 run (Thomas kick)

Third Quarter

KL — Dickson 30 field goal

Fourth Quarter

KL — Steele 46 pass from Hartford (Templeton pass from Hartford)

Overtime

NM — Smelcer 9 run

Individual Stats

Rushing — KL: Wallis 11-53, Hartford 7-14, Lewis 2-8. NM: Smelcer 12-135, 2 TDs; Tupolo 17-79, Nanez 1-8, Ward 2-3, Nogues 1-2.

Passing — KL: Hartford 19-30-168, TD, 3 INT. NM: Ward 8-17, 68, INT.

Receiving — KL: Steele 2-51, TD; Wallis 4-35, Templeton 5-33, Keppert 4-28, Stahl 3-18, Dickson 1-3. NM: Nogues 2-18, Newman 1-13, Smelcer 1-10, Anderson 1-9, Tupolo 1-9, Nanez 1-8, Arreola 1-1.

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

More in Sports

Kingston senior Tim Gallagher was named Swimmer of the Meet at the 2019 2A state championship. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Swimming Roundup: Special group of Kitsap seniors take their final bow

FEDERAL WAY — Kitsap swimmers once again dominated the 2A state meet… Continue reading

North Kitsap’s Holly Beaudoin took second place at Mat Classic XXXI. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
NK’s Beaudoin, Bremerton’s Michaelson take second at Mat Classic

TACOMA — North Kitsap’s Holly Beaudoin made a little history at the… Continue reading

Olympic gold! Trojans capture 2A state championship

FEDERAL WAY — As Dietrich Meyer came barrelling down lane four in… Continue reading

Leetsah Deam had a game-high 20 points for Kingston in the playoff victory over Fife. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Kingston knocks off Fife to move within one game of regionals

SUMNER — Down nine points midway through the fourth quarter in their… Continue reading

Shaa Humphrey scored 15 points in North Kitsap’s win over Renton, including a 5 for 6 performance from the free throw line in the final two minutes of the game. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Clutch shooting lifts North Kitsap into district championship game

UNIVERSITY PLACE — The amazing run continues for the Vikings. What was… Continue reading

Elijah McGee drives the basket against Spanaway Lake’s Jarrod Wright-D’Abreau (14) during Central Kitsap’s second quarter 13-2 run. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Kingston’s Tim Gallagher has the top seed time in the 100-yard backstroke and the 200-yard freestyle. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Swimmers to watch at 2019 state meet

The end of the high school swim season is nearly here with… Continue reading

Deyondre Davis will wrestle at the state tournament for South Kitsap in the 160 division. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Wrestlers to watch at Mat Classic XXXI

With the snow gone (perhaps for now), the Puget Sound region finally… Continue reading

Most Read