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"KSS wins again, readies for big boys"
"The prospect of playing football against traditional Nisqually League powers Orting and Eatonville never has held much promise for the Klahowya Eagles.But, then, the Eagles never have been undefeated when they went to play those two teams, either.That's exactly where Klahowya sits as it heads to Orting this Friday after holding serve at Silverdale Stadium for four straight weeks in the school's most glorious football home stand ever. Following a 43-13 victory over Steilacoom last Friday, the Eagles can match 4-0 records with the two teams that, in the previous three years of their history, used them as casual stepping stones to the league title and the state Class 2A playoffs.The Cardinals, fresh off a 45-7 win over Port Townsend, have the tradition. They have the mystique. They have the intimidation factor.In short, Orting has the edge.We're going in with the mindset that we want to take it away, Klahowya coach Brad Hamblet said of that edge. We know it'll be a battle. But we've proven that we can challenge those top teams. Now it's time to go do it.The Eagles went through their final prep for the upcoming brace of big-time road contests by dispatching Steilacoom in what has become downright routine fashion. They ran for 342 yards on offense, and more or less squashed a decent Sentinels attack with a defense that has yielded yards and points grudgingly all season.In its four victories, Klahowya now has outscored opponents 147-39, an aggregate that has to aggravate those traditional powers from southern Pierce County.We know it'll be a big football game, Hamblet said of Friday's 7 p.m. kickoff at Orting. It's never been all that exciting to go in there and play before, but this year we're looking forward to it.Against Steilacoom, quarterback Ryan Williams knocked off 117 rushing yards on 10 carries, an output that included touchdown runs of 71, 27 and 1 yards. He also threw for a touchdown, a fourth-quarter strike to Eric Mischenko from 19 yards, as the Eagles added a tasty side dish to what has been a steady diet of running game.That was a very purposeful attempt on our part, Hamblet said of Klahowya's efforts to expose the ball to a little more of the moist late-September air. It was our plan to put the ball up more often and develop more confidence in our passing game.Klahowya also worked some on its option, a wrinkle that hardly has been necessary in its early dominant offensive performances.We have to be able to loosen up the defenses, Hamblet said of the team's expanding offensive variety pack. They have to honor (the pass).In Friday's game, Williams completed five of his nine passes for 86 yards, including three completions for 69 yards and a TD to the fleet Mischenko.Aaron Killoran, known more as a punishing, between-the-tackles runner, also showed some wheels, breaking a 65-yard touchdown run to go with an earlier 19-yarder. He finished with 115 yards on 10 carries.The Eagles turned a potential momentum-buster in their favor early in the game. On the Sentinels' first play from scrimmage, they were burned by a 58-yard pass from Kyle Rix to Jordan Saxman. One play later, though, Rix was picked off by safety Kyle Skelly, setting up Klahowya's first touchdown on Killoran's 19-yarder. The Eags added a safety (when Williams blocked Saxman's punt into the end zone) and another touchdown (on Williams' 1-yard sneak) before the end of the first quarter.Steilacoom scored on its next drive, but Klahowya countered with a two-play, 89-yard spurt (a 24-yard Mischenko pickup preceded Killoran's long breakaway score) and stopped the Sentinels' next drive with a Brad Sprout interception to get back their monopoly on momentum.Having swept the home stand, Hamblet said it's time for his team to reach even higher levels of accomplishment.It's time to step up and challenge the powers, he smiled. I think we're ready. "