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Central Kitsap and Olympic football teams prepare for Battle of Bucklin Hill
Tim Allbee channeled his inner Herodotus to motivate the Olympic High School football team as it prepared to face its crosstown rival.
Literally. He is a social studies teacher by day and head football coach by night.
“It’s funny because none of these kids have played against ‘CK,’” Allbee said Tuesday, referring to Central Kitsap High School and the Battle of Bucklin Hill, the rivalry game between the two schools that has been on hiatus for the past two seasons. “We’re having to give them a bit of a history lesson so they know what this is all about.”
The Trojans of Olympic and Cougars of Central Kitsap will square off at 7 p.m. Friday at Silverdale Stadium.
If history is an indicator of what’s to come Friday, Allbee should be concerned.
The Class 4A Cougars hold a 20-14 series advantage against their 2A counterparts, Allbee said, and the Orange and Black have lost to the Blue and Silver just once in the past decade.
“They are the big, bad Cougars and we are the little Trojans,” joked Allbee, who will participate in the rivalry for the first time as a head coach after serving as an assistant in previous years and interim head coach last season.
Bragging rights aside, Allbee and Central Kitsap coach Mark Keel are treating this game as a potential springboard into the league schedule, which for both teams begins next week.
Since it’s a non-league contest, the result won’t have any bearing on the league standings or playoff positioning.
The Trojans (0-1) are coming off a 28-20 loss to Fife High School on the road, a season opener that saw the team commit six turnovers – five in the third quarter – and let an eight-point lead slip away.
Olympic lost nearly 30 seniors to graduation and features an entirely new backfield, led by senior transfer quarterback Willie Kudera. The right-hander completed 21 of 33 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns in his debut, but he also threw two interceptions.
The Trojans must cut down on the turnovers if they are to have any chance against Central Kitsap, which has advanced to state each of the past two seasons.
“I’d say that’s a very fair statement,” Allbee said. “We’ve got to take care of the ball.”
Keel, meanwhile, couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season.
The Cougars (1-0) defeated KingCo Conference power Eastlake High School 13-10 on the road, using strong special teams play and making few mistakes.
Central Kitsap built a 13-3 lead behind two first-half touchdowns from running back Devon Lewis and converted plays late in the game to hold off an Eastlake comeback bid. The team committed just four penalties the entire game.
“We’re really happy,” Keel said. “That was a big-time win for Central Kitsap football.”
Like his Olympic counterpart, however, Keel believes his team has room for improvement. He wants to see more production out of the running game and believes it will take a strong effort defensively to slow down Olympic’s no-huddle, pistol offense.
“We’ve seen those guys play, we’ve seen them score a lot of points,” Keel said. “If they get up on us, they are going to pour it on. Hopefully our defense shuts them down.”
Keel, in his 11th year, is downplaying the rivalry.
His message at practice this week was to keep the game in perspective, that the season is larger than one contest and the outcome Friday has no bearing on the playoffs.
“The big thing is we have a mature group of guys,” Keel said. “They have a real good understanding that this is just another game and that we need to go out and play and focus on getting better as a football team.”
Be a part of the ‘Battle’
Head-to-head: Central Kitsap leads the all-time series 20-14, according to Olympic coach Tim Allbee.
Olympic’s most recent victory over Central Kitsap was in 2006.
Central Kitsap coach Mark Keel has lost once to Olympic, in 2006, in 11 years at the helm.
Rally in the alley:
When: 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Where: Olympic swimming pool parking lot (in front of Silverdale Stadium)
Food: burgers and barbecue ribs
Game tickets: Adults, $6; students, $4; seniors, $2.
*Although both teams call Silverdale Stadium their home field, Olympic will host.