EAST BREMERTON — Any time a pair of cross-town rivals meet up on the gridiron with a postseason berth on the line, fireworks are sure to follow.
Olympic and Bremerton were in that very situation on Friday night and they did not disappoint.
Darelle White scored a 5-yard rushing touchdown with 41 seconds left in regulation to break a 27-all tie and lift the Trojans to victory that saw four lead changes. They now have three league wins on the season, which should be enough to sew up one of the final two Olympic League places in the district playoffs.
The loss drops the Knights to 2-3 in the league and their own hopes now rest on beating the league champion, Sequim, at home next week.
Malcolm Dewalt led the offensive charge with 132 rushing yards, 40 receiving yards and two total touchdowns. The junior two-way threat also sealed the win with an interception on Bremerton’s final drive.
“We just stepped up and we did what we had to do to get that win,” Dewalt said.
But the Knights didn’t make it easy. The Trojans have had a tough time stopping the run this year and that played right into Bremerton’s strengths.
Rasheed Joiner carried 26 times for 185 yards and three touchdowns as his team totaled 428 rushing yards. Ryan Saylor also broke the century mark with 134 yards and Abraham Parish added 74.
And it looked as if that ground attack might carry the Knights to victory. Parish scored on a 24-yard run to tie the game at 20 towards the end of the third quarter. Joiner’s third score of the game then gave Bremerton a 27-20 lead early in the fourth.
“We had our chance at the end, we had that drive and then we got stalled out on a penalty,” Bremerton head coach Paul Theriault said. “We were moving the ball on them.”
With 6:03 to go in the game, Olympic resorted to a little pre-Halloween trickery. Dewalt took a handoff and reversed the ball to receiver Adam Johnson, who cut inside and ran 40 yards for a touchdown to tie the game.
“We have them in our pocket, but the kids actually called that,” Olympic head coach Sal Quitevis said.
Joiner had opened the scoring with a 15-yard run on the Knights’ first drive of the game, but two touchdown passes from backup quarterback Anthony Turso gave Olympic a 14-6 lead in the second quarter.
Turso filled in gamely for starter Zeke Gillick, who was injured in last week’s game against Forks. Turso completed seven of his nine passes for 67 yards.
And although the defense has struggled at times this year, the unit stiffened up when it mattered most. With the Knights moving swiftly down the field late in the fourth quarter, a fortunate penalty and two big stops on third and fourth down gave them back the ball to set up one final drive and White’s go-ahead score.
“We only had one choice — we have to make it to the playoffs,” Dewalt said. “Coach said we have to step up and that’s what we had to do in the second half.”
The Trojans currently sit in third place in the league with a 3-2 record. If they beat North Kitsap next week, they slide up to second place. But even if they lose to the Vikings in the regular season finale, a playoff spot is still most likely theirs. Bremerton, Port Angeles and North Mason all have two wins, but Port Angeles and North Mason play one another while Bremerton hosts Sequim. If Bremerton and North Mason both win their games, it would create a three-way tie scenario in which each team has the same record against one another, which may very well result in a three-team tiebreaker game.
Olympic 34, Bremerton 27
Bre 6 6 8 7 — 27
Oly 7 7 6 14 — 34
Brem — Joiner 15 run (kick failed)
Oly — Johnson 2 pass from Turso (Kennedy kick)
Oly — Dewalt 5 pass from Turso (Kennedy kick)
Brem — Joiner 1 run (2-pt. failed)
Oly — Dewalt 9 run (kick failed)
Brem — Parish 24 run (Parish run)
Brem — Joiner 2 run (Storey kick)
Oly — Johnson 4o run (Kennedy kick)
Oly — White 5 run (Kennedy kick)
Rushing — Brem: Joiner 26-185, 3 TDs; Saylor 14-137, Parish 10-74, TD; K. Retome 7-22, Logova 3-10. Oly: Dewalt 16-132, TD; Bailey 5-41, Johnson 1-40, TD; White 4-31, TD; Talarico 2-17, Feistner 3-12.
Passing — Brem: Parish 0-4, INT; Logova 0-1, INT. Oly: Turso 7-9-67, 2 TDs, INT; Dewalt 0-1, INT.
Receiving — Oly: Dewalt 3-40, TD; White 2-27; Johnson 2-0, TD.