Late rally falls short in high-scoring affair

The Knights ripped the Roughriders defense for 24 fourth-quarter points in Port Angeles on Friday, but still came up short in a 55-44 Olympic League contest. Bremerton scored first in the game, but then saw the ’Riders pull out to a 55-20 lead before the fierce comeback started.

“We’re just trying to find a way to win,” said coach Nate Gillam. “We’re trying to make a slight change in our thought processes. We’ve been losing for so long, we’re playing not to lose, instead of playing to win.”

Jacob Belden, the Knight’s junior quarterback had his biggest game of the year so far, connecting on 13 of 25 passes for 275 yards and five touchdowns. Belden got the team out to a first quarter lead, hooking up with Jamaree Wells for a 21-yard strike. The touchdown was the first score for the Knights in the first quarter this season.

“Belden’s really been improving,” Gillam said. “He’s been doing a good job and his confidence is improving with our passing game. We had a good mix, I think three of the touchdowns were pretty good throws downfield, and the other two were short tosses followed by long runs. We’ve thrown the last 45 times without giving up a sack, so we’re getting good protection. He’s got time to throw. We’ve just got to get some receivers running more confident routes.”

Port Angeles stormed back, scoring two touchdowns in the first quarter, and another to open the second before Alex Griffin punched into the end zone on a 2-yard run to cut the margin to 18-12. The ’Riders followed with another trio of touchdowns, one on a 65-yard interception return, before Belden hit Dmitri Alston for a 28-yard touchdown pass, and Griffin ran in a two-point conversion.

Port Angeles found the end zone again in the first half, but only scored twice after half-time, a third quarter touchdown and a fourth quarter field goal. Unfortunately, Bremerton (1-5, 0-2) continued to struggle in odd- numbered quarters, being held without a third period score again, maintaining a season-long goose egg.

But in the fourth quarter, the Knight offense stepped into overdrive. Belden found Richard Kendrick in the end zone on a 7-yard play, then hit Griffin for successive touchdown throws of 47- and 45-yards. Running back Jamiere Abney joined the scoring with a 2-yard burst.

Abney ended with 137 yards on 18 carries, giving him 716 yards on the season. Griffin added 60 yards on 10 runs, and led the receivers with his 92 yards. Alston pulled in the most passes, grabbing five for 88 yards. Travis Storey added 51 on three catches, and he had 12 yards rushing on two tries.

Bremerton travels to Peninsula High School on Friday.

The Knights lost the first meeting of the year against the Seahawks, 36-6 Sept. 21.

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