Trojans rout Knights

Olympic’s Rashad Greene gets off his blocker to knock the ball loose of Bremerton quarterback Jacob Belden’s grasp for an incomplete pass in Friday’s 47-13 Oly victory.  - Photo by Aaron Managhan
Olympic’s Rashad Greene gets off his blocker to knock the ball loose of Bremerton quarterback Jacob Belden’s grasp for an incomplete pass in Friday’s 47-13 Oly victory.
— image credit: Photo by Aaron Managhan

Two years ago, Olympic and Bremerton’s high school football programs were in the same boat.

Bremerton had just gone 0-10, while the Trojans finished 1-9, beating the Knights for their lone win.

And while both schools have made some considerable improvements since then, the Trojans proved Friday just how much farther ahead of Bremerton they are.

Olympic (4-1, 2-0 in Olympic League play) cruised to a 47-13 win against the Knights (1-4, 0-2) at Silverdale Stadium Friday.

In fact, by the time Olympic’s offense finally took the field, the Trojans had a 12-0 lead.

“The kids made it easy on us,” Oly coach Eric Allen said following the win. “I’m really proud of them. They did what they were supposed to do tonight.”

“I thought defensively we played well,” Bremerton coach Nate Gillam said. “But when you step on the field down three touchdowns, it’s kind of hard.”

Olympic increased the lead with a Rashad Greene 33-yard touchdown run on the Trojans’ opening drive, which took just five plays thanks to Greene’s 20-yard run to start the possession. Jason Davidson’s extra point gave Oly a 19-0 lead (Davidson missed his first two PAT attempts) just more than 3 minutes, 30 seconds in.

That early lead was built by an aggressive defensive attack that saw Olympic pick off three passes in the first quarter, with both Deanzalo Thomas and Blake Johnson taking picks back for scores. Johnson, who finished with three picks in the game, would also return a pick 86 yards in the second quarter for another touchdown.

“That definitely pumped our offense up,” Johnson, a sophomore, said. “We definitely wanted to stay strong.”

After Port Angeles threw the ball 66 times last Friday in Oly’s 62-38 win, Johnson said the team wanted to prove a point against the Knights’ passing attack.

“Port Angeles threw 66 times. I couldn’t let 66 passes go,” Johnson said. “I’m just like, if they’re gonna throw ’em, catch it and don’t get tackled. I’ve got to give it up to my linebackers. They had some big blocks for me.”

But Johnson, who finished with 182 interception return yards, said the picks and stats wouldn’t have meant a thing without a victory.

“Really, I don’t care honestly,” he said. “Individual is cool and everything, but it doesn’t mean anything if we don’t win.”

Greene had an outstanding game for Olympic, finishing with 112 yards and two scores on eight carries, adding another touchdown on a 30-yard reception in the third quarter. Ross Payne found the end zone for the Trojans’ final score in the fourth quarter from 4 yards out.

Bremerton keyed up on Oly’s Larry Dixon, who had more than 800 yards coming into the game. Dixon finished with 39 yards on 10 carries, fumbling once. But Allen said his lighter-than-usual load was partially by design.

“To be really honest with you, Larry’s tired,” Allen said. “He’s only a sophomore. He played ninth-grade football last year. To move up and step up, he’s gonna be tired a little bit. I told our strength and conditioning coach that if we got ahead, I wanted to give Larry the night off.”

But being a competitor, that didn’t sit well with Dixon, who did return to the game aftthe half.

“He just had this look in his eyes,” Allen said. “I said, ‘Larry,

what’s wrong?’ He said, ‘Coach, I want to play.’”

The game wasn’t all bad for the Knights.

After having three of his first four passes intercepted, Bremerton quarterback Jacob Belden did finish strong, hitting 4-of-6 passes with a 12-yard score to finish the game in the fourth quarter while operating the hurry-up.

“Jake, he’s a good quarterback,” Gillam said. “We just haven’t run a lot of pass patterns like that. It’s a learning experience.”

Running back Jamiere Abney finished with 147 yards and a score on 31 carries to lead the ground attack for Bremerton, while Alex Griffin added 45 yards on seven carries. Travis Storey added six rushes and 39 yards.

“You take away those four interceptions and three scores and we’re right in it,” Gillam said. “That’s the way the game is.”

Gillam said the team needed to get Oly off the field sooner after the deficit was created.

“That’s the tough thing,” he said. “Our defense let the offense drive a little too much. We couldn’t get ’em off the field. It’s kind of frustrating. We’re a good defense, but we’re kind of a bend-but-don’t-break defense.”

While Allen said it was nice to score so much so early, he said it made things a little too easy on his offense thereafter.

“It’s good and it’s bad,” Allen said. “It’s good because it takes the pressure off us early. We knew we’d be able to relax a little bit on offense. But at the same time, we needed to play better on offense. And some of the credit there goes to Bremerton.”

Being a rivalry game between the East Bremerton-based Trojans and the West Bremerton-based Knights, Allen said it was nice to get the win.

“Yeah, it’s something that goes way beyond me,” he said. “It’s something that’s always gonna be here.”

While the teams were so similar two seasons ago, their futures since have been quite different. Bremerton struggled to a 1-9 season last year, while Olympic finished 5-5, the first season for both in the reborn Olympic League.

This year, the Knights, who got their lone win against North Mason, are hoping to turn that trend around, while Oly appears to be on a crash course with Peninsula for the league crown.

“It’s not as bad as it could be,” Gillam said of Bremeton’s ongoing improvement. “The kids are starting to realize that we’re not the same team we were two years ago. It’s just a matter of fine-tuning now.”

Bremerton travels to Port Angeles for a 7 p.m. game Friday.

“We’ll just get back to work on Monday,” Gillam said. “We’ve got five games left. So we’re just now halfway. We’re good. I’m not worried.”

For Oly, the focus is on the league title, with Peninsula coming to town.

“We’ve got to get better though,” Allen said. “It’s for the lead in the league. It’s something we’ve been waiting for for three years. I’m glad for the kids. I’m glad they have an opportunity to experience fighting for a league championship.”

That game is 6 p.m. Thursday at Silverdale Stadium.

“I just hope the town comes out and supports these kids Thursday night,” Allen said. “It’s gonna be a fun football game.”

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