Sports

Eagles run 2000 win streak to 3 games

"Gabe Stephens never has known defeat as a member of the Klahowya Secondary School football team.He and his sophomore classmates are 3-0 as varsity players following last Friday's 51-12 bludgeoning of Vashon at a Silverdale Stadium that has been bathed in sunlight each time the Eagles have played this year.It's been fun so far, Stephens shrugged after Friday's game.To Stephens and his contemporaries, this is what Klahowya football is all about.And to the team's more veteran members, who can remember being on the nether end of the kind of score they ran up last Friday, the idea's catching on, as well.This has been sweet, said senior Brett Palmer, who was on Klahowya teams that compiled an aggregate 1-15 record in his previous two seasons. This is a lot better than getting your butts kicked all the time, I can tell you that.Before trotting off to join his third consecutive postgame celebration, Palmer added, This is a whole new breed of Eagles.Victory No. 3 this season also was notch No. 1 in the Nisqually League schedule for Klahowya, which now has to be considered at least a mild contender after dutifully serving for three years as League Doormat. After three starts, all at home, the Eagles have outscored opponents 104-26. Perhaps even more telling of their transition, they have committed just two turnovers in those three contests.It's been great, said second-year coach Brad Hamblet, who didn't get a win in his first season, but has done nothing but win this year. I hope there's a lot of interest and enthusiasm building up for these kids playing so well at home.It's a home stand that continues this Friday, when the Eagles play their fourth straight homer against Steilacoom at 7:30 p.m. at Silverdale Stadium (following the conclusion of the 5 p.m. Central Kitsap-Gig Harbor game).We tell them to celebrate after the game and on the weekend, then come back ready to work, Hamblet said. They come back pretty determined. They know they need to keep working hard.Last Friday, it took a while for Klahowya to wear a determined Vashon team down, even after they jumped out to a 16-0 first-quarter lead. That early surge included an 81-yard touchdown gallop by Eric Mischenko, the first of his five TDs on the night.That was it for the Eagles in the first half, though, as the Pirates toughened and pulled within 16-6, scoring once and turning the rest of the quarter into a punt-fest.We told ourselves at halftime we had to get fired up, said Palmer. They (Vashon) came out with a fire under their butts.They did play pretty inspired in the first half, Hamblet added of the visitors from Vashon. They had a pretty good defensive scheme, too. They got up to stop our sweeps and strong-side stuff. But we made some adjustments at halftime.I didn't think we were as inspired on defense in the first half as we normally are, either, Hamblet added.We were slow in the first half, Stephens, a linebacker, agreed, but then we picked it way up.Klahowya's defense actually opened up the scoring in the first quarter, after a 12-play Eagle drive stalled out at Vashon's 2-yard-line. Sean O'Shaughnessy caught Pirates quarterback Chris O'Brien for a safety two plays later. Mischenko's long TD, an interception by Ryan Williams and a 13-yard scoring run by Aaron Killoran later, the Eagles were up 16-0.Mischenko added touchdown runs of 7, 56, 12 and 4 yards in the second half, and reserve halfback Rory Lee scooted 47 yards for a late TD to complete the scoring.Our defense has become a pretty cohesive unit, said Hamblet of his stoppers, who were hurt only by halfback Sean Donnelly (19 carries, 108 yards, two scores) and tight end Andre Chevalier (three catches, 93 yards). They take a lot of pride in making big stops, big plays. They get pretty ornery in there. "

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