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Knights ambush Olympic
Experience was the best teacher for the Bremerton High School football team as it prepared for last Friday's game against Olympic.We watched a lot of film of them from last year, said Knights coach Shawn Perkins after his team hammered the Trojans 44-6 in the Narrows League Bridge Division opener for both teams. And the wing-t was pretty much the first offense we practiced against, both at (summer team) camp and this fall. We've practiced a lot against it.Bremerton - which, by the way, lost a 24-17 decision to Troy on the videotapes of their 2000 game - improved to 2-0 this season and leveled Olympic off at 1-1 with the victory.Kellen Alley caught two touchdown passes from Joe Bollinger and Sean Blevins added a pair of fourth-quarter TDs on long runs - the first 90 yards with a Bollinger screen pass - as Bremerton claimed its second straight one-sided victory. The Knights opened Sept. 8 with a 41-6 road win over Prairie.The evening's mood started somber, as both teams participated in a midfield candlelight ceremony to remember those affected by Tuesday's terrorist attacks on the East Coast.But things turned celebratory in a hurry as the Knights scored on their first possession, led 16-0 by the end of the first quarter and cruised to the victory.It's a good feeling, Perkins said of the Knights' 2-0 start. The kids are playing with a lot of pride and commitment right now.There was a lot for Perkins to be happy about. The offense topped 40 points for the second straight week, and the defense had its second straight six-point yield and produced a safety.Perhaps most impressive, though, was that the Knights finished the game with just one turnover, and that came with just 42 seconds remaining to be played.We're getting that football smarts, Perkins said. Last year, we would've made those mistakes, the turnovers and penalties, but this year we've grown. So far, we're playing football the way it's supposed to be played.Olympic had just two turnovers, but both hurt. One squashed a late first-quarter drive near midfield. A second ended a nine-play drive that had penetrated to Bremerton's 13-yard line.We stopped ourselves a couple of times, said Olympic coach Pete Weymiller. It didn't really seem like it was our team out there, but give credit to Bremerton for that. They were really ready to play, and I don't know if we were.Bremerton seized the momentum from the opening kickoff, as B.J. Ray's return got them almost to midfield and they scored just three plays later, Alley sprinting under Bollinger's pass down the left sideline.Oly's defense stopped a Bremerton drive seven yards from the end zone, but an offensive interference penalty kept them deep in their end, and quarterback Will Gratz was sacked in the end zone by Buddy King for a safety. On their next play from scrimmage, the Knights got a 32-yard TD run from Tieba Bropleh, who broke two tackles on his way up the middle.Suddenly, less than 10 minutes in, it was 16-0. Oly never recovered, even though it played somewhat better after halftime.Weymiller refused to use his team's short work week - Central Kitsap schools didn't have after-school practices or games Tuesday in reaction to the terrorist attacks - as an excuse.We might've tried to make up for missed time by working them too hard, he mused.Asked about the difficulty of stopping Bremerton's spread offense, which produced an unofficial 433 net yards, Weymiller shrugged.That's what our offense can do, too, but they did a good job stopping us, he said. They were up for this game.For the second straight week, the Knights got contributions from a large number of different players. Bollinger connected on six of 14 passes for 168 yards, while nine different runners carried the ball for a total of 291 yards, led by Aubrey Neal's three-carry, 77-yard performance from a wingback spot.We don't have any stars, and that's how we have to play, Perkins said. You play with teammates, not with stars.Of Neal, a junior who also is Bremerton's backup quarterback, Perkins grinned, We're going to get him in games. He can do good things. He doesn't care where he plays, as long as he's in the game.For Olympic, Jarrell Nelson carried 14 times for 57 yards and Luke Switzer added 55 on 13 tries. Will Gratz played most of the game at quarterback and finished with 7-for-15 accuracy and 61 yards.