Cougars steamroll Stadium

Central Kitsap running back H’Arion Gaulden breaks to the right side of the field in Friday’s 51-28 blowout of Stadium. Gaulden finished with two rushing touchdowns in the homecoming win.  - Phtoto by Aaron Managhan
Central Kitsap running back H’Arion Gaulden breaks to the right side of the field in Friday’s 51-28 blowout of Stadium. Gaulden finished with two rushing touchdowns in the homecoming win.
— image credit: Phtoto by Aaron Managhan

A big win against rivals Oly? Check.

An even bigger blowout win against hated SK? Check.

Lock up a playoff berth? Check.

About the only box left unmarked on Central Kitsap’s to-do list during the 2007 football season got checked Friday, as CK not only blew out visiting Stadium 51-28, but more importantly, picked up a win on homecoming.

Central Kitsap (7-1 overall, 4-1 in Narrows League Bay Division play) came out of the gates running, scoring 44 points at the half in the blowout.

In fact, Stadium (0-8, 0-5) didn’t score until the fourth quarter, and even then, all 28 points came against the Cougars’ third- and fourth-string defensive players.

And while the players were celebrating the win and preparing for the homecoming dance the next day, CK coach Mark Keel was just happy CK put the Tigers down the way they were expected to.

“They came out and played well,” Keel said. “They played like they should have played. No let down or overconfidence.”

And that was a lesson Keel was glad to see reaffirmed.

“It was good that we came out and played like we should have played,” Keel said. “That’s what we needed to learn.”

But that doesn’t mean picking up a win on homecoming wasn’t special for him too.

“I tell you, being where we’re at this year at this time has a whole different affect (on the homecoming game),” Keel said. “We had a great homecoming assembly at school. I’m sure (they had) a great time at the dance too.”

CK’s Caleb Brown, a member of the homecoming court himself, led the way early in the blowout, scoring three first-quarter touchdowns.

Things went the way of the Cougars from the very beginning, with Stadium fumbling the opening kickoff and Central recovering it.

Just a minute-and-a-half later, a 3-yard run by running back H’Arion Gaulden, the first of two scores for Gaulden in the game, gave CK a lead it would never relinquish. And while kicker Jeff Eagleson’s point-after attempt was blocked (about the only highlight for Stadium in the first three quarters), Eagleson, another member of the homecoming court, would also finish strong.

On Stadium’s ensuing drive, a Howard McDonald sack forced the Tigers to punt. On the first play from scrimmage for the Cougars following the return, Caleb Brown took a flat pass to the left from quarterback Jason Simonis and, spinning off a tackler, took off 47 yards for another first-quarter score.

Following the kick, Brown then picked off a Stadium pass on the third play of the Tigers’ drive, racing 30 yards to the end zone.

As if that weren’t enough, CK’s defense again forced Stadium to punt on the next drive. This time, Brown returned the punt 75 yards for a touchdown.

Eagleson hit those three PATs, sending CK to a 27-0 lead after the first 7-and-a-half minutes.

Eagleson finished with six successful PATs in the game, adding a 35-yard field goal, no easy task in the mix of rain and wind that hung around Silverdale Stadium throughout the night, to finish with nine points in the game himself.

McDonald was able to score once and Richie Meier added a third-quarter touchdown to wrap up the CK scoring.

Overall, every Cougar that was healthy and eligible saw time on the field in the win.

“Every single person got to play,” Keel said. “That means a lot to a lot of those guys. They were able to get out there and contribute.”

Now it’s playoff time, as CK will battle Gig Harbor (6-2, 3-1) for the No. 3 or 4 seed out of the Narrows League into district play. Both teams have secured postseason berths. That game will take place Friday at 7 p.m. at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma.

“They’re a team we haven’t beat in a long time,” Keel said. “We have to be very consistent with what we’re doing.”

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