NK beats Lynden in OT thriller, advances to state semis

North Kitsap avenged state playoff losses to Lynden the past two years with a 34-28 overtime win in the quarterfinals at home Nov. 18 in what Viking coach Jeff Weible said was one of the best games he’s ever coached.

“It’s great the fact that we get to practice another week, practice on Thanksgiving. I’m excited to keep playing.”

Tied at 28-28 at the end of regulation, overtime rules went into effect with both teams starting at the 25-yard line.

NK went first and running back Carter Dungy scored but the extra point was no good.

So the Lions had a chance to win if they scored a TD and made their conversion.

But NK defensive back Alex Hitchings leaped over Lynden’s Dani Bowler for an interception to end the game.

“I saw the quarterback looking at me, and he was picking on me all night. I believed in myself, and it was there,” Hitchings said.

It was a tough 48 minutes for Hitchings and the Viking defensive backs during regulation, with Lynden scoring on three long touchdown passes. Lynden’s offense struggled to create a long drive against NK’s defense. But they made up for that when Lion Brady Elsner scored on a 62-yard touchdown catch, and Bowler scored on 74- and 65-yard touchdowns.

For the Vikings, their offense was inconsistent throughout the game. In the first quarter, North Kitsap had four drives that led to a punt, two interceptions and a 5-yard touchdown catch by Cohen Meis.

Quarterback Cole Edwards threw his third interception of the game in the second quarter but bounced back at the end of the half. After taking a massive hit, Edwards found Logan Sloman in the endzone with 11 seconds left to cut the lead to 21-14 at halftime.

Dungy took over in the second half with three third-down conversions and a 6-yard touchdown run to make it 28-28. “Once [Dungy] puts his head down and gets his legs going, he is hard to stop,” Weible said. “He will give credit to the offensive line.”

Even when they were behind, the Vikings did not give up hope. Lynden defeated NK in the football state semis in 2021 and the state championship game last year. “This whole week, we have been saying we can’t go 0-3,” Hitchings said. “Now we can say this is not the Lions den; this is Vikings territory.”

With the win over the 6th-seeded Lions, third-ranked NK will go up against top-ranked Tumwater this weekend in a state semifinal game.

But before the Vikings return to the field, they were going to celebrate one of the most monumental victories in program history.

“Tonight we get to go to Denny’s and get some bacon,” Hitchings said.

Quarterback Cole Edwards leads the Vikings offense to 34 points.

Quarterback Cole Edwards leads the Vikings offense to 34 points.

Ethan Guerra earns the first down for NK.

Ethan Guerra earns the first down for NK.