POULSBO — For the past year and six days, North Kitsap had been looking forward to a rematch with Sequim on its home field.
Last season, the Vikings fell 16-14 to the Wolves up in Sequim on their grass field with a power line running close enough to the goalposts that their hit it with a field goal attempt. Sequim got a rekick and eventually won the game. That loss didn’t sit well with the North Kitsap players or coaches, and there was nothing could be done as Sequim ran the table and won the league.
Quite a few players graduated off of both teams, but the remaining Vikings remember it well.
“We’ve been waiting for this game since the second we lost last year,” said senior defensive back Erik Burchill.
Burchill was one of the stars of the defensive battle that took place Friday night, hauling in four passes for 62 yards on offense and making an interception and five pass breakups on defense as North Kitsap got its revenge, defeating Sequim 16-8.
The defense, buoyed by the return of middle linebacker Cache Holmes — who missed the first half attempt to return from an injury — pitched a shutout in the second half and gave up Sequim’s only touchdown on a short field after a muffed punt. Colton Bower also came up with an interception for the Vikings and Nathan Simms and Blake Shipp both came up with fumble recoveries.
“I think he made a difference in the second half,” said head coach Jeff Weible. “I think he lifted the team’s spirits because they were pretty down not having our emotional leader out there.”
Holmes did not think he was going to play at all in the game, the prospect of which devastated him and he went off down to the school building in order to work on his leg and get it ready to play. He got the all-clear and made a couple of big plays for the defense. Sequim’s only second half points came on a safety.
“This game set the tone for the rest of the season,” Holmes said.
Josh Fisher opened the scoring with a one-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, and the offense had actually gotten off to a decent start. But the unit only showed flashes of its future potential and struggled to move the ball during much of the second half, finishing with 140 yards from scrimmage. Bower completed 9 of 19 passes for 109 yards and rushed for 45 yards.
“We’re just so young and the offense is new to us,” Weible said. “Honestly, I’m struggling with it just trying to find things that work.”
Fortunately, freshman kicker Diego DeLuna came along to save the day, booting three field goals — his last an impressive 40-yard kick — to provide the rest of the scoring.
“He came out for football the first day,” Weible said. “I had never seen him before and he had soccer cleats on.”
It looks like the league is wide open this year with only three playoff spots up for grabs. The Vikings will have to take on a Bremerton team that has impressed thus far, losing a close game to a very good Black Hills squad and then convincingly beating both Wilson and Rochester. But the coaching staff believes they will be ready for the challenge.
“There’s not a football team in the state of Washington that plays harder than we do,” Weible said. “Our execution has to get better to match it.”
North Kitsap 16, Sequim 8
SQ 0 6 2 0 —8
NK 7 6 3 0 — 16
North Kitsap — Josh Fisher 1 run (DeLuna kick)
North Kitsap — Diego DeLuna 25 field goal
North Kitsap — DeLuna 30 field goal
Sequim — Joseph Pinnell 20 pass from Taig Wiker (conversion failed)
North Kitsap — DeLuna 40 field goal
Sequim — safety
Passing — North Kitsap: Bower 9-19-101. Sequim: Wiker 14-31-117, TD, 2 INT.
Rushing — North Kitsap: Bower 15-45, Fisher 8-14, TD; Wanzek 4-10. Sequim: Ward 12-64, Wiker 15-19, Hoesel 3-11.
Receiving — North Kitsap: Burchill 4-62, Fitsemons 2-25, Fisher 1-10, Castillo 2-4. Sequim: Hoesel 5-56, Moore 4-21, Pinnell 1-20, TD; Nestor 2-14, Ward 2-7.