Knights’ mistakes too helpful to Roughriders

This wasn’t so much a football game as a flashback.

The Bremerton High School football team reverted to some old habits against a much improved Port Angeles team last Friday night, Sept. 28, in PA.

As a result, the Knights didn’t look much like the team that had compiled a 2-1 record so far this season and given state power South Kitsap a run for its money in their previous start. They looked more like the Knights of old — the ones who lost 23 straight games leading up to the end of the 2000 season.

Bremerton crippled itself with penalties and turnovers and surrendered a 14-0 decision to the Roughriders, leveling their season record at 2-2 and dropping them out of the upper division of the Narrows League’s Bridge Division standings.

“We just killed ourselves with penalties,” said Bremerton coach Shawn Perkins, whose team committed nine of them for 68 yards, and always seemingly at the worst possible times.

“We weren’t mentally ready,” Perkins said of his team, which was coming off a marvelous — albeit losing — performance the previous week in a 46-35 setback to South Kitsap. “You can’t give a good team a break, and that’s what we did. We just gave them too many chances.”

After a first half that was played pretty much between the 30 yard lines, the Roughriders used the second-half kickoff, from the strong right leg of quarterback Matt Johnson, to finally gain field position. His end-over-end boot got all the way to Bremerton’s 5, where Kellen Alley hauled it in and tried to return across the field, through the clammy dirt baseball infield. He made it only as far as the 15 before he slipped and went down.

After an exchange of punts, the Knights had to kick away again from their own end zone, leaving the ’Riders just 37 yards to go. They covered that in four plays, starting with tailback Jesse Long’s 20-yard draw play and ending with David Martin’s 9-yarder up the middle and into the end zone.

That score came with just 2 minutes, 18 seconds left in the third quarter, and the Knights spinning their offensive wheels. They continued to be stuck in their own end of the field until recovering Long’s fumble at their own 43 with 3:38 to go. It looked like it might finally be turnaround time.

But there was no destiny for the Knights, only disaster. On their first play, quarterback Joe Bollinger rolled to his left and, with a PA defender yanking his jersey from behind, threw a pass right into the numbers of sophomore Jeremy Whitney. Whitney got the ball in the Bremerton backfield and outran several Knights to the end zone for the knockout blow.

“I’m disappointed for our kids,” Perkins said. “It’s hard to ride all the way up here and not play any better than we did. But I don’t want to take anything away from Port Angeles. They played tough.”

As frustrating a night as it was for Bremerton, it still had a slight edge on the Roughriders in productivity, out-gaining them 179-168 in unofficial total offense and compiling a 9-7 edge in first downs.

The Knights just couldn’t get any of their offensive weapons untracked. Bollinger finished with seven completions in 24 attempts, with three interceptions.

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