Eagles win wild one with Kingston

Andre Moore tries to break outside during Friday’s wild 47-34 homecoming win against Kingston.   - Photo by Aaron Managhan
Andre Moore tries to break outside during Friday’s wild 47-34 homecoming win against Kingston.
— image credit: Photo by Aaron Managhan

The Buccaneers just about raided, looted and plundered Klahowya’s homecoming football game on Friday.

But the Eagles had enough fight in them to hold off first-year Kingston in a wild 47-34 Olympic League win for Klahowya at Silverdale Stadium.

At first, the game appeared to be on course for a Klahowya rout, as the Eagles (4-2, 2-0) took a huge 34-7 lead into the half.

But the Bucs (0-5, 0-2) made sure it didn’t stay that way, using mainly successful onside kicks to turn in a 27-point second half.

So while the Eagles won on homecoming night, the game’s close finish tempered the team’s celebration.

“You give the ball away on all those onside kicks; it’s ridiculous,” Klahowya coach Brad Hamblet said. “That can’t happen. And I’ll take part of the fault for that.”

Hamblet said while he thought his team took Kingston too lightly, special teams, specifically onside kicks, was ultimately what allowed the Bucs to creep back.

“It was the only way they could get in the game,” Hamblet said. “And they did get in the game.”

Kingston actually struck first.

Facing fourth-and 10 on their own 39-yard line, Bucs quarterback Paul Bagala, also the team’s punter, dropped back like he was going to kick, but faked the punt, rolling left and finding a Kingston receiver for a 38-yard gain. That eventually led to a 2-yard score by Kingston back Taylor Zehrung, who picked up 59 yards and a score before having to leave the game with an apparent wrist injury in the first quarter.

But that only seemed to spark Klahowya. Less than a minute later, the Eagles got a 1-yard score from Cody Hertenstein that came on the heels of a 51-yard scamper by Andre Moore, who had four runs of more than 40 yards in the game.

Moore picked off a Bagala pass on the ensuing drive, then broke out for a 41-yard touchdown to cap the drive. The Eagles put up 20 more points before the half to take a 34-7 advantage.

“We were just thinking we were gonna win,” Moore admitted after the game. “This is just a wake-up call.”

Kingston began the second half with an onside kick, recovering the first of four such recoveries in the half.

“We’re gonna be working on that quite a bit,” Hamblet said of special teams, adding that the coaching staff deserves a fair share of the blame for the let down as well. “I was pretty disappointed in that. But it’s not all the kids’ fault.”

Kingston scored on a run by Daniel Maleski from 16 yards out after the first recovery, making it 34-13 Klahowya. The Eagles had to punt on their next possession, and Kingston drove again, this time with Maleski scoring from 1 yard out.

That’s how the third quarter would end, with the Eagles clinging to a 34-20 lead, but the fourth started similarly.

Facing fourth-and-1 heading into the quarter change, the Bucs advanced on a keeper by Bagala to keep the drive alive. Three plays later, Bagala hooked up with receiver Jack Clearman, who had seven catches for 73 yards and two scores in the game, from 14-yards out to pull within one possession, 34-27.

“You allow a team to get into a rhythm and emotions can take over,” Hamblet said. “We talked about that at the end of the first half. They were very flat. They weren’t prepared. They weren’t ready. We’ve got to take care of that.”

The Eagles would respond with a long 69-yard drive, capped by Hertenstein’s 3-yard score. And while that would eventually prove to lock up the win for the Eagles, Kingston never gave up, scoring again before a 78-yard burst by Moore proved the final straw.

Moore and Hertenstein continued to act the role of two-headed monster for Klahowya, with Moore piling up 267 yards on 17 carries, scoring twice. He also had a pick and an 11-yard reception. Hertenstein was the most potent scorer in the game, racking up 163 yards on 21 carries with four scoring scampers.

That running game was what allowed Klahowya to hang on to the lead.

“We said we’re gonna run our offense, which is the power,” Hamblet said. “And we did. We established that pretty well.”

Overall, Hamblet was impressed with the first-year Buccaneers.

“They’ve played a really solid, tough schedule,” he said. “They’re a well-coached team. They play pretty darn hard. That’s why we needed lots of points in the first half.”

Homecoming may also have played into that, with two members of the team, seniors Justin Shaputis and Alex Schell both represented on the court. Shaputis said with all the festivities going on, which included a special halftime celebration and fireworks during the “Star-Spangled Banner” and after the game.

He did say the win was exciting though.

“Yeah, it feels really exciting,” said Shaputis, Klahowya’s homecoming king. “We just got more focused, more mentally focused. But it’s very stressful. It’s a lot to think about. Kind of distracting.”

Danny Zimny played a strong game under center for the Eagles, not known for passing. Zimny attempted just two passes, but completed them both.

In addition to Moore’s catch, Zimny found Jed Clark for a 23-yard scoring strike.

“We’ve been working on that kind of stuff,” Hamblet said. “Those are the things we have to do with our kind of offense.”

And while the win may have been a frustrating one, Hamblet emphasized he was still pleased with where the Eagles are at the season’s midpoint.

“We’re where we want to be at this point in the season, that’s for sure,” he said. “And next week it’s North Mason. That’s the next stop on our journey.”

The Eagles host North Mason at 7 p.m. Thursday.

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