Sports

"CK led by Kluge early, Calliham late"

"Ryan Calliham’s back.It’s either a statement about Central Kitsap High School’s senior football player, returning to the field after a year’s forced absence.Or, it’s a description of what visiting Port Angeles saw quite a bit of last Friday night.The Roughriders got several looks at Calliham’s back as he ran away from them for long gainers during the Cougars’ 28-7 Narrows League Bridge Division victory at windy Silverdale Stadium.Calliham carried 12 time for 213 yards, including breakaways of 61 and 56 yards and a touchdown run of 21 as the Cougs broke into the win column for the first time after two defeats.Mike Kluge added a 62-yard fumble return and 47-yard TD reception from Dylan Robbins, accounting for the Cougs’ first two scores, as CK handed hapless Port Angeles its third consecutive defeat this season.Back then, Calliham was a sophomore, waiting for his shot at the varsity and contenting himself with starring for the Cougars in track. He won both the 100 and 200-meter Olympic League championships.During the summer before his junior year, however, he was injured while attending a football camp at Washington State University, a hip flexor injury that erased his 1998-99 athletic seasons. He still was healing when the Cougars began turning out in late August.“I’m still not 100 percent,” Calliham said Friday night. “I’ve been out for a while and I’m still learning how to play football again.”The rush of victory in only his second varsity game (he played sparingly in CK’s Sept. 17 loss at North Kitsap) made up for a lot of lost time, however.“I feel like I could go out and run the 100 right now,” he said. “My leg feels great. I’ve waited for this a long time.”Central Kitsap coach Scott Speck, whose team struggled offensively early in the game and never did shake the penalty bug, just smiled when Calliham’s name came up in a postgame discussion.“He’s a pretty potent weapon,” Speck said of the 5-foot-10, 190-pound speedster. “And he’s gonna get better. He’s just rounding into football shape this week.”The Cougars in general appeared to be “rounding into football shape.” Except for all the penalties — 13 of them, costing CK 122 yards — they turned in a fairly dominant performance against a team that, by all rights, they should’ve dominated.“We played better in the second half,” said Speck. “But I don’t know if I’ve ever coached a game where there were that many penalties. It’s real puzzling.”Speck placed much of the blame for filling the blustery skies with the officials’ yellow flags squarely on himself.“We put a lot of pressure on them this week,” he said of his team, which was over the 300-yard mark in total offense only until all those accursed penalties were deducted. “We added a lot to our passing offense. We’re in a multiple offense, now, and we haven’t practiced it enough to be proficient. I think the kids were trying so hard that they did some unnecessary things, and made some mental errors.“I get to eat the crow on that one,” Speck said.Calliham recovered Terry Wopperer’s fumble at PA’s 35-yard-line to give CK a golden opportunity to draw first blood. But the first of that motley collection of penalties stalled the resulting drive before it started, and it was actually the Roughriders who found the end zone first. They reeled off a 10-play, 77-yard drive that ended with quarterback Craig Handy finding Albert Martun open from 14 yards out.PA got the ball back early in the second quarter, but Kluge foiled their drive on a second-and-5 play after Wopperer was waylayed in the backfield. He stripped the 215-pound senior of the ball and raced the other way to the end zone, tying the game.Even though penalties continued to plague them, the Cougars had things their own way the rest of the game. Their next drive, 80 yards on six plays produced the Robbins-to-Kluge TD strike when Kluge dragged PA’s Tim Lovell the final few yards into the end zone.“Once we got Ol’ Lady Mo on our side, we just kept runnin’ her up the street,” Speck said.Calliham’s 61-yard sprint around left end, with sophomore Pete Van Datta supplying the spring block, keyed the next CK scoring drive, which Eric Roy capped by bulling over from a yard out.Calliham finished the evening — and the Roughriders — by keying a third-quarter drive that covered 76 yards despite being nicked by two major penalties, a clip and an ineligible receiver that negated a 22-yard Robbins-to-Calliham hookup. He started the possession with a 56-yard sweep to the right and finished it with the 21-yarder to the left.“Our line is playing just awesome right now,” Calliham said. “I owe it all to them. We had to run the ball tonight, because of the wind — our passes were just wobbling.”Still, Robbins managed 102 aerial yards on 6-for-15 efficiency."

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