Sports

Listless Knights can't hang on to lead

Bremerton quarterback Aubrey Neal provided the only spark for the Knights, rushing for 64 yards and a touchdown on the first play of a 34-7 loss Friday night, Oct. 4, in Poulsbo. The Knights couldn’t hang on to their lead and dropped to 0-4 on the season.  - Photo by Rogerick Anas
Bremerton quarterback Aubrey Neal provided the only spark for the Knights, rushing for 64 yards and a touchdown on the first play of a 34-7 loss Friday night, Oct. 4, in Poulsbo. The Knights couldn’t hang on to their lead and dropped to 0-4 on the season.
— image credit: Photo by Rogerick Anas

POULSBO — When Bremerton quarterback Aubrey Neal scampered 64 yards for a touchdown Friday night, it was both bad news and good news for the North Kitsap Vikings.

Bad news, because Neal’s touchdown was the first big play by the Knights.

Good news, because it was the last.

After the big play by the elusive Neal, North shut down the Knights’ offense and opened up their own, scoring five touchdowns on the way to a 34-7 win.

Neal’s play, which came on Bremerton’s first offensive play of the game, made it 7-0, and the Knights (0-4, 0-3 in league) carried the lead into the second quarter until the Vikings (2-2, 2-1 in league) began to chip away at it.

A 1-yard touchdown run by fullback James Smith cut the lead to 7-6.

Then, as the second half wound down, the Vikings scored two more touchdowns, the first coming when Jared Prince scored on a quarterback keeper, then — after the Vikings recovered the ball on a short kick — when Prince passed the ball to Chad Foster, who had weaved his way past the Knights’ defense.

Foster tipped the ball to himself with one hand, and finished the 50-yard play for North Kitsap’s second touchdown in 45 seconds.

They carried the 20-7 lead into the half, then stretched it further in the fourth quarter, first with a 5-yard rushing score by Smith, then with a 48-yard touchdown pass from Prince to Patrick Gilbert.

The Knights had opportunities to score throughout the game, but were stalled by a combination of North Kitsap defense and costly mistakes, which included a first-half fumble recovered by North Kitsap, an interception in the endzone by North Kitsap defensive back Jeremiah Doehne, and a fumble on a punt return.

“Mistakes. That was the whole shooting match,” said Knights coach Shawn Perkins. “We made too many mistakes ... we’ve got to straighten things out.”

The Vikings were hardly spotless. They had their own costly turnovers, especially early in the game, when one drive ended on the Bremerton 33-yard line with a fumble, and another was cut short with a fumble at the Knights’ 18.

But the Vikings recovered in time to grab their second league win.

Coach Jerry Parrish said the defensive scheme — and the Vikings’ adherence to it — was the difference in the game.

“In the first quarter, they (Bremerton) scored. After that our defense played very, very well,” he said.

Parrish was pleased with the improved job done by the team, including fullback Smith, the offensive line and the offensive execution.

“Our improvement was easy to measure tonight,” Parrish said.

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