Knights fight the good fight

Ladies and gentlemen, these are not last year’s Bremerton Knights.

The Sequim Wolves came into Memorial Stadium Saturday and earned a victory.

The Wolves earned it against hard-hitting tacklers. They had to fight for that extra yard to pick up first downs.

A year ago, teams came to Bremerton and scored at will. The 3A Wolves led just 6-0 at halftime, en route to an 18-0 win.

They entered as the defending Nisqually League champions against the perennial cellar-dwellars of the Narrows Bridge Division.

They left with a heap of respect for the home team.

After a scoreless first quarter, Sequim got on the board with an Eric Zangara run from four yards out near midway through the second. Zangara would amass 185 yards on the day.

The Knights did some good things when they got the ball back, with George Skurtu busting through for five yards on a 4th-and-1 play and a Zach Dunmire punt pinned Sequim down at their own 3.

The Wolves nearly drove the length of the field, before Moises Lovinaria made a touchdown-saving tackle that the Knights’ defense fed off of, spiriting Bremerton to a three-play goal line stand before the half.

The Knights went back to the locker room, hearing it from a fired-up crowd. Sequim left the field frustrated, with many questions.

No one could find any answers in the third quarter. Lovinaria’s big hit kept him off the field for a couple series and the Knights still couldn’t punch one in despite the efforts of backup quarterback Richard Kindrick.

Meanwhile, it was Sequim shooting themselves in the foot, not Bremerton.

Wes Wilson made a punishing stop on a 3rd-and-3 at the Knights’ 31. Sequim lined up to go for it on 4th-and-5 but chose to punt after a false start.

On another drive, the Wolves got a first down but paid dearly for it on a crushing tackle by Jesse Howell.

The Wolves made good on a 14-yard Adrian Gault run with 11:52 in the game, before Skurtu returned the kickoff to the Sequim 26 and the Knights presented their biggest threat of the day.

“Almost, but almost didn’t cut it,” Skurtu said, adding that his streak of a kickoff return for a touchdown in every Knights’ opener was snapped. “It felt incomplete.”

Unfortunately, Sequim intercepted a pass deep in their own territory and ground it out from there. Chris Riggs tallied the game’s final touchdown with less than four minutes left.

“They did really well considering we are all new to each other,” Knights coach Nate Gillam said following his debut. “Even though we may not have been technically sound, we had guts. That’s what it takes ... they had to earn all 18.”

“I felt (good) in the game (when) I was lighting people up,” Howell said. “It would have felt a lot better with a ‘W’ on the board.”

The Knights will host Auburn-Riverside in a 7 p.m. contest Friday.

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