BREMERTON — Through six weeks of the high school football season, the North Kitsap offensive line has been an unstoppable machine.
While the Vikings are fortunate to be blessed with talented backs that can run with speed and power, the big guys up front doing the less glamorous work have constantly been able to dominate defensive lines at the point of attack and open up generous running lanes.
And on Oct. 6 at Memorial Stadium in Bremerton, the North Kitsap offensive line performed this task to perfection, allowing the backs to rack up 356 rushing yards en route to a 33-7 victory.
“It’s so amazing, I have to give it up to them,” said North Kitsap senior running back Dax Solis, who rushed for 193 yards and three touchdowns. “I dont even know how they do it. The coaches just tell me to be patient and wait for the hole to open, and I always know that hole will open because I have trust in my offensive line.”
Solis opened the scoring with a 2-yard touchdown and also scored on the first play of the second half, breaking through several tackles on a 55-yard dash to the end zone. The latter score made it 28-7, and seemed to put the game out of reach for a Bremerton team that was struggling to move the ball.
While Solis is so often the focal point of the offense, he was not the only Viking runner to have a big night on the ground. Junior Clayton William carried the ball ten times for 130 yards. His terrific speed brings a different element to the North Kitsap running game, forcing teams to defend sideline-to-sideline and complimenting the combined power and speed of Solis.
Also not to be overlooked is the play of quarterback Andrew Blackmore. The senior signal-caller and a bevy of pass-catchers help keep opposing defenses honest with timely passing plays. Blackmore completed six of his eight passes for 89 yards and two touchdowns, both in the first half.
It wasn’t a perfect performance for North Kitsap — both Solis and receiver Kai Warren fumbled during the game and Blackmore was intercepted by Bremerton’s Enrique Lopez, which helped set up the Knights only touchdown. It was a 17-yard scoring play from quarterback Max Boekenoogen to receiver Savante Perrigo that cut the deficit in half to 14-7.
But the Vikings responded on the next drive with a 25-yard strike from Blackmore to Warren to restore the two-touchdown lead on the final play of the first half.
“We felt pretty confident moving the ball, obviously we shot ourselves in the foot with some turnovers tonight or the score might have been a little different,” said North Kitsap head coach Jeff Weible. “But the defense answered the call, and picked us up and held them to just one touchdown. We’re happy with that.”
Indeed, a Bremerton team that was averaging well over 300 yards per game on the ground was held to just 103 by the quick, aggressive North Kitsap defense. Sema’J Cook came into the game with 600 rushing yards in four appearences, but was held to just 40 against the Vikings. Noah North and Aiden Allsop also came up with interceptions for the Vikings as they limited the Bremerton passing game to just 17 yards.
Up next: North Kitsap (6-0), now ranked No. 3 in the Seattle Times state football rankings, will travel on Oct. 13 to face its in-district rival Kingston (0-6). Bremerton (5-1) will also hit the road that same evening, squaring off against Port Angeles (3-3).