Cougars win the battle

Members of the CK Crazies — junior Randy Mason and senior Adam Nedeker — left no doubt about their allegiances during Friday’s game. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Members of the CK Crazies — junior Randy Mason and senior Adam Nedeker — left no doubt about their allegiances during Friday’s game.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

The 30th Battle of Bucklin Hill went the same way seven of the past eight have gone — to the Cougars.

The boys from Central Kitsap (2-3 league, 2-5 overall) had little problem with their rivals from Olympic (0-5, 2-5) who had little to be happy about on Homecoming following a 21-0 loss which extended CK’s series lead to 17-13.

“We struggled on tackling and catching,” Olympic coach Carlton Cooper said after his second loss in two years to CK. “We had a series where we’d play like we were supposed to and then we’d make mistakes. We had some bright spots, but we weren’t able to put plays together.”

The Cougars had little trouble stringing plays together on their first two possessions of the game.

Powered by junior running back Daniel Mayfield’s four carries for 30 yards and an 11-yard reception from quarterback Nick LaFontaine, the Cougars marched downfield 72 yards in their opening possession. Mayfield finished the night with a game-high 118 yards on 20 carries.

“I can’t go anywhere without my (offensive) line,” the 5-foot-11, 171-pound Mayfield said. “They had good holes for me and most of the time they were there.”

LaFontaine capped off the drive with an 11-yard run to the endzone. It was the third time in as many games that CK has scored a TD on its opening possession having done it in a loss to Shelton and a win against Bremerton.

“When you can get the ball and get down on your first drive and put it in, that sets the tone for a game,” CK coach Mark Keel said. “We talk about that in practice, we set plays for it and go out and execute.”

The Trojans tried to get things going in their opening drive when senior running back Jonell Hodge went 26 yards on the opening play. But the drive soon stalled and the Trojans were forced to punt. Hodge, often tormented by Keel and several Cougars from the sidelines, finished with 113 yards on 15 carries.

“I don’t care about what they say, I just play football,” Hodge said. “I’m not one to talk mess during a game. Their defense was supposed to stop me and I wasn’t supposed to have more than 50 yards on them, but that changed after the first plays. It would’ve been better if we had gotten on the scoreboard.”

On their fourth play of their second drive, Central extended their lead to 14-0 with 4:05 left in the first quarter when sophomore running back Danny Van Datta outran the entire Trojan defense for 66 yards into the endzone. Van Datta left the game when he had a helmet-to-helmet collision on the kickoff of the second half. He was taken to Harrison Hospital by ambulance as a precaution, according to Keel.

The closest the Trojans came to scoring in the first half came with only about 30 seconds until hafltime when Byron Mosely was facing the wrong way on a pass from Jeff Shaw in the CK endzone.

“If we had scored right there it would’ve been a different ballgame,” Shaw said.

Shaw finished the night 3-of-12 for 48 yards. LaFontaine was 7-of-11 for 90 yards with half coming off a 45-yard toss that junior wideout Ricky Bearbower stumbled into the endzone with just under three minutes remaining in the third quarter.

“I got the ball and I saw open field in front of me so I just broke for it,” Bearbower said of his lone catch. “My knee started to buckle, but I got in.”

CK finished with 340 yards of total offense, the Trojans had 194.

“In the four years I’ve been here, Olympic’s never been successful moving the ball on us,” Keel said. “We talked about that and the team stepped up to the challenge. Our guys were prepared mentally which was another key for this game. Physically we figured we could play with those guys, where mentally in the previous five weeks we were shooting ourselves in the foot.”

The Cougars kept their penalties down while the Trojans either fumbled or had penalties hamper five different possessions.

Olympic is at home on Thursday at 7 p.m. against Gig Harbor’s (4-1, 6-1) tough defense and potent pass-oriented offense.

“We’ll have to fix some mistakes and try to gear up for this week,” Cooper said.

The Cougars head up to Poulsbo to take on Jared Prince and the high-powered North Kitsap Vikings (4-1, 6-1.)

“We’re going to have to play hard,” Keel said. “We’re going have to get better in practice and player harder than we did tonight. They’re a good football team and our guys understand that.”

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