Following a pair of high-energy away contests in the first two weeks of the 2023 season, the South Kitsap Wolves couldn’t grab any offensive momentum in their home debut, losing to South Puget Sound League foe Puyallup 17-0.
The Vikings coming to town would have meant a quick defeat in years past for South Kitsap, which had given up a combined 139 points in the previous three meetings.
However, this year’s contest at Kitsap Bank Stadium featured a defensive stalemate, an encouraging sight to see under first-year head coach Sean Banks.
The Wolves defense did their part in keeping Puyallup off the scoreboard through the first quarter and only giving up a touchdown in the final minutes of the half.
SK’s offense, led by senior quarterback Jordan Lee, had its chances, but costly penalties kept the Wolves from doing any damage.
Despite the close score to a Viking team that had dominated SK before, Banks said they had nothing to celebrate. “We should be winning. We expect to win, and if we expect to execute, we will. 7-0 is not where we want to be, and if we do our job, we’d be winning the football game,” he said.
The second half was more of the same, a strong defensive effort that couldn’t be backed up on the other side of the ball. A lack of a true passing game contributed to a collapsing pocket of protection around Lee and even more penalties on the offensive line ultimately sank the Wolves. Even a fourth-quarter possession in which the Vikings gave up several yards of penalties from its own sideline, including unsportsmanlike conduct on the coaching staff, was stalled inside the red zone.
A chip shot field goal and short rushing touchdown made up the rest of the scoring—the Wolves held scoreless for the first time this season.
“We’re not doing moral victories at South Kitsap anymore,” Banks said about the losing culture in recent years. “I want to win, the kids want to win. It felt pretty decent, but there’s a lot of stuff to clean up on both sides of the ball.”