Hunter Wallis looks for a hole in the Cascade Christian defense in Thursday night’s 44-28 loss. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

Hunter Wallis looks for a hole in the Cascade Christian defense in Thursday night’s 44-28 loss. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

Klahowya undone by Cascade Christian quarterback

Eagles still have a shot at playing in the state tournament.

EAST BREMERTON — Klahowya had the chance to move into first place in the Nisqually League on Thursday night, but with a team that has not lost a league game in seven years on the other sideline, that was a pretty tall order.

Unfortunately, Cascade Christian quarterback Parker Johnson stole the show, passing for 324 yards and five touchdowns in a 44-28 victory.

The loss sets up a de facto playoff game for the Eagles in their regular season finale with Bellevue Christian on Saturday, Nov. 3. A win puts Klahowya into the 1A state tournament.

“That’s a perennial top eight team in the state, and we’re not there yet,” head coach Dan Ericson said, “but we took a step in the right direction.”

That is in reference to last year’s matchup between these two teams, which went Cascade Christian’s way by a score of 62-0. This year was much different — in fact, for a time it was Klahowya’s offense that looked unstoppable.

The Eagles marched straight down the field on their first drive and Jacob Keppert finished it with a 23-yard catch and run. The Cougars answered right back on a 5-yard touchdown by Tyler Wissing, but Drew Dickson returned the ensuing kick 84 yards for a touchdown and a 14-7 lead.

But soon after, the offense stalled. The Eagles had trouble simply picking up first downs, which allowed Cascade Christian time to regroup.

“I anticipated they were going to load up the box, so we did some quick screens and stuff,” Ericson said. “Then they made an adjustment, which we knew they would. I probably should have run the ball a little more in the first half, but we didn’t have the ball very much after that.”

Klahowya had trouble containing Johnson, Cascade Christian’s strong-armed 6 foot, 4 inch, 220-pound signal-caller. He connected with receivers Conner and Isaiah Zetterberg for long scores in the second quarter to put the Cougars ahead.

Hartford picked off Johnson on the following drive, giving the ball back to Klahowya with about 25 seconds left in the half. But a one-score game quickly turned into two as an Eagles fumble gave the Cougars the ball on the 20-yard line. Two plays later, it was Johnson to Gurr for a 7-yard score. That sequence ended up being the turning point in the game.

Hartford pulled Klahowya within 10 on a 53-yard rushing score late in the third, but Johnson connected twice more with Conner Zetterberg for touchdown passes in the fourth quarter. Hartford then hit Dickson for a 14-yard touchdown to close out the scoring.

“We kept fighting. We kept playing,” Ericson said. “We had our chances.”

Cascade Christian 44, Klahowya 28

CC 7 18 6 13 — 44

KL 14 0 7 7 — 28

First Quarter

KL — Keppert 23 pass from Hartford (Dickson kick)

CC — Wissing 5 run (Janho kick)

KL — Dickson 84 kick return (Dickson kick)

Second Quarter

CC — C. Zetterberg 37 pass from Johnson (Kick blocked)

CC — I. Zetterberg 43 pass from Johnson (Kick failed)

CC — Gurr 7 pass from Johnson (2-pt. try failed)

Third Quarter

CC — Preston Smith fumble recovery (2-pt. try failed)

KL — Hartford 53 run (Dickson kick)

Fourth Quarter

CC — C. Zetterberg 6 pass from Johnson (Janho kick)

CC — C. Zetterberg 27 pass from Johnson (kick failed)

KL — Dickson 14 pass from Hartford (Dickson kick)

Individual Stats

Rushing — KL: Hartford 9-100, TD; Wallis 10-27. CC: Metzger-Magalei 14-95, Wissing 10-15, TD; I. Zetterberg 3-14, Johnson 3-1.

Passing —KL: Hartford 18-36-173, 2 TDs, INT. CC: Johnson 20-39-324, 5 TDs, 2 INT.

Receiving — KL: Wallis 8-78, Keppert 3-45, TD; Dickson 5-35, TD; Steele 1-14, Templeton 1-1. CC: I. Zetterberg 6-125, TD; C. Zetterberg 6-119, 3 TDs; Gurr 6-59, Metzger-Magalei 1-11, Setterfield 1-10.

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

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