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

Bainbridge quarterback Jack Grant, left, hands off to Garrett Goade as Port Angeles defender Jeremiah Hall closes in on Friday night in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Football Roundup: Week 7

Port Angeles 27, Bainbridge 7 The Spartans had their opportunities, but the… Continue reading

Colton Bower passed for 363 yards and six touchdowns in North Kitsap’s 56-21 win over Bremerton. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Bower throws 6 TD passes, runs for 100 yards in romp

Friday night brought together a North Kitsap team that loves to air… Continue reading

Bainbridge senior Eden Michael took home a second-place finish in the final regular season cross country league meet at Battle Point Park. Michael’s performance helped lead Bainbridge to a team victory. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group photos)
Bainbridge girls win final league meet

NK girls, Kingston boys each run to 2nd place

Bainbridge senior Maddy Brown looks to pry the ball loose from a Sequim player during her team’s 1-0 win Thursday night. Mark Krulish/Bainbridge Island Review photos
Bainbridge maintains top spot with 1-0 win over Sequim

Keeping the positive momentum going was the order of the day for… Continue reading

Mark Krulish
Prep playoffs could mirror Mariners excitement

If you were one of the 44,164 folks who attended the Mariners… Continue reading

Bainbridge middle blocker Allie Wildsmith blasts a shot through Kingston’s defense in her team’s three-set win Tuesday night. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Spartans defense feeds offense in win over Kingston

Offense might get a lot of attention in volleyball, but without good… Continue reading

Bremerton quarterback Josh Tapangco threw a pair of touchdown passes in his team’s 32-0 win over Bainbridge on Friday night. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Football Roundup: Week 6

North Kitsap 49, Sequim 7 The Vikings continued their march through the… Continue reading

Bainbridge’s Caleb Durrance closes in on fallen Bremerton quarterback Joshua Tapangco during the Spartans 32-0 loss to the Knights. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
10 turnovers help Bremerton blank BI

It was Friday night and Homecoming night at Memorial Stadium on Bainbridge… Continue reading

Kamora McMillian tries to step past Kingston’s Cora Caldis. McMillian is a team captain and one of just five seniors on North Kitsap’s girls soccer team this year. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
NK girls soccer springs forward this fall

Although no one was happy to have lost their full slate of… Continue reading

Most Read