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Eagles win wild one against Bremerton
With more than 1,200 students, Bremerton High School is the fifth-largest 3A school in the state.
At right around 535 students, Klahwoya Secondary School is among Washingtons 15 smallest 2As.
So when Bremerton and Klahowya squared off Friday in the 2007 season opener for both schools football squads, many expected a Bremerton repeat of last seasons 21-14 win against the Eagles.
But as the saying goes, big things can come in small packages.
Klahowya outlasted the Knights 28-27 at Silverdale Stadium in a high-octane game filled with big plays on both sides of the ball, big moments for both squads and unfortunately, some big injuries that occurred late in the instant classic.
Thats one way to get into it, isnt it? Klahowya coach Brad Hamblet said of the season opener.
Klahowya running back Andre Moore tallied up 185 yards and three scores in the game, including a 75-yarder, to help the Eagles (1-0) fend off a late Knights (0-1) rally.
Hes a darn good runner, Hamblet said. A smooth runner. I like watching him run. He knows where that cutback lane is.
Trailing 28-21, Bremerton began a drive that echoed what theyd done throughout the game, picking up big yards at big times.
I was going, Oh man. We dont need a big play at this point, Hamblet said after Knights bruiser Jamiere Abney burst up the left side for 42 yards with just 44 seconds remaining. We talked about it at halftime. But give (Bremerton) credit. When they needed it, they got it.
That run set up a Knights first-and-10 on Klahowyas 17-yard line. Knights speedster Alex Griffin then turned a near loss into a 9-yard pickup, scampering to the 8-yard line with just 16 seconds left. But thats when misfortune struck the heart of the Knights offensive attack.
After picking up 5 yards on the next play, and with only six ticks remaining on the clock, Griffin was the only player not to get up after the pile separated. Bremerton trainers had to cut off his jersey as it appeared Griffin was having trouble breathing, suffering from what appeared to be a rib injury. He was forced to leave the field on a stretcher, but raised his arm when the crowd cheered him off.
You dont like to see those at all, Hamblet said.
Once play resumed, the Knights had one final shot with no timeouts to get back into the game. In his last chance, Abney pounded the ball up the gut for a 3-yard touchdown, making the score 28-27 with no time left.
But rather than go for the point-after attempt to tie the game, Knights coach Nate Gillam opted to try the two-point conversion, going for a victory.
I dont regret that decision for a minute, Gillam said. The problem was, the play we ran was not the play I thought we should have called. Youve got to get the ball into hands of your best player.
Moore and fellow Eagle Darrel Normandy met Bremerton back Jamaree Wells about 2 yards short of the goal line. Many thought Abney should have had the carry.
Im so proud of our kids, Hamblet said. They find a way to get it done. Its a great win for our kids. The hard
worked payed off.
For the Eagles, the win marked the first time since the 2004 season the team has started 1-0. Having it come against a team more than twice Klahowyas size just made it that much
more meaningful, Hamblet said.
Its great, he said. You never know what itll be like until you play against another team. And Bremerton is a large school. Its a real boost to our program and the kids efforts. Its a great night.
Moore, who lead the Eagles multi-headed rushing attack, said the win proves that Klahowya can hang with the Olympic Leagues larger schools, even if the game was a non-leaguer.
It was a close game last year. Its good to come back and beat them, he said. That tells everyone we can play with the big guys.
In addition to Moores effort, bruiser Jeremy Alder finished with 23 yards on nine carries and the Eagles first score, a 6 yard scampered up the gut in the second to tie the game at 7-7.
Bremertons big-play ability came up big again tied at 14, with quarterback Jacob Belden finding Griffin for a 41-yard pickup with just 15 seconds left in the first half. Griffin finished with 58 rushing yards and two catches for 41 yards.
Abney then picked up 14 to put Bermerton on the goal line, taking the ball in to the end zone a play later, giving the Knights an edge heading into the half. Abney was the Knights top threat, with 115 yards on 15 carries, scoring three Bremerton touchdowns. Running back Travis Storey added a score and 84 yards on 12 carries for Bremerton.
Hamblet attributed some of that to the teams adjustment to its new 3-3-5 defensive scheme.
It was a little rocky, Hamblet said. But the second half, we picked it up a little more.
But players like Moore enjoyed the new defense.
Its good, he said. It attacks em. And were fast on defense.
Griffin wasnt the only player to leave the game from injury.
Klahowya running back Cody Hertenstein, at the time leading the team with 13 carries, racking up 49 yards in the process, was forced to leave due to a severe ankle injury.
Despite the defenses struggles, the Eagles had many strong moments. Corner Danny Zimny, also the teams quarterback, picked off Beldens first attempt, and Hertenstein blocked a punt in the second quarter. The Eagles also recovered two fumbles.
With the win matching the teams victory total of a year ago, Klahowya is confident more is on the way.
We should have a successful season, Moore said. As long as we keep working hard.
Klahowya will take on Chimacum (0-1) at 5 p.m. in a Friday home game. The Cowboys fell 35-13 to Sequim in the opening weekend.