The North Kitsap football team defeated Anacortes in the quarterfinals of the state tournament 10-7 Nov.18.
The Vikings struck early with a field goal on their first drive despite making it to the 2-yard line.
“I wanted to get points on the board,” coach Jeff Weible said. “I wanted to score on our first drive and put them on their heels, and we did that. We got points there so the first drive doesn’t feel like a waste.”
NK went into halftime with a 10-0 lead after Benen Lawler rushed for a 4-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
Anacortes responded in the third quarter when Brock Beaner rushed into the endzone.
Yet, the final few drives had the crowd on their feet, and the players and coaches sweating in 30-degree weather.
Anacortes struggled to cross midfield in the fourth period, being caught in multiple long third downs.
“The third downs were huge because it forces them to do bad things,” Weible said. “Nobody wants to be in third and long because it’s an uncomfortable position. We had a handful of interceptions tonight so I don’t think they felt super comfortable tonight.”
However, No. 6 seed Anacortes had two final chances to capture a victory on the road.
“You got to expect the unexpected and something tricky,” Weible said to his team at the end of the game.
The first drive came with six minutes left. The Seahawks marched down to North Kitsap’s 23-yard line with four minutes remaining.
On fourth down, Anacortes needed a yard. However, the Viking defense plugged the holes and forced a turnover on downs.
However, NK failed to run out the clock and gave Anacortes the ball back on its own 32-yard line with 2:16 left and one timeout.
The Seahawks’ air raid began to work as Brady Beaner moved the chains multiple times. Once the Seahawks reached NK territory with less than a minute left, the Viking defense showed up one final time.
Cornerback Alex Hitchings was left on an island against Brady Beaner with 23 seconds left. As the ball was thrown into the air, Hitchings came down with his third interception of the night, clinching the Viking victory.
“It’s indescribable,” Weible said. “I’m so proud of the kids for the grit they show every play tonight. Everything was fun but hard. That’s the kind of football games we like to play.”
NK’s semifinal game will take place Nov. 26 at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup. The No. 3 seed will take on the winner of the No. 2 seed W.F. West and the No. 10 seed Sedro-Woolley. The other semifinal matches No. 1 seed Lynden against either No. 4 Enumclaw or No. 5 Othello.