Football: Klahowya just "can't buy a break"

The Klahowya Eagles have to be the best winless 2A team in the state.

Not necessarily a distinction the Eagles are proud of, but certainly a strong indicator of the type of season Klahowya has had on the gridiron.

That season continued Friday with another heartbreaking loss, this time a 35-26 defeat at the hands of Sequim (5-1, 2-0).

“We just can’t buy a break,” Klahowya (0-6, 0-2) coach Brad Hamblet said. “We kept coming back, but we just made critical errors. It’s just tough. With young kids, we’ve got to live with that but it’s kind of tough sometimes.”

A 137-yard effort by Eagle speedster Isaac Solaita was not enough to overcome key turnovers against the Wolves. That’s just the kind of thing that has been hurting the Eagles all year.

Against Sequim, the Eagles and Wolves traded scores throughout the first half. After Sequim scored to go up 22-12 in the second, the Eagles got the ball back with 14 seconds. Rather than killing the clock, the Eagles killed their own drive by fumbling the ball in their own territory.

That gave Sequim kicker Robbie MacPherson a shot at a field goal to pad the lead even more. After the kick sailed wide, a late flag was thrown and the officials called roughing the kicker on the Eagles. MacPherson appeared to go untouched on the play.

That penalty set up the Wolves on the Eagle 6-yard line with one more shot. On the play, Sequim quarterback Wyatt Short found Garrett Lotzgesell for a score to make it 29-12 at the half.

While the call appeared to be off the mark, Hamblet said it didn’t matter, as the Eagles should have avoided the predicament to begin with.

“Regardless of that call, we shouldn’t have been there,” Hamblet said. “It’s like we’ve said all along, we can score, we just can’t stop people.”

Of the state’s winless teams, regardless of classification, Klahowya is the only team to record more than 100 points (103) for the season. They have also allowed the third least at 189 points given up. While those numbers still don’t translate into a winning record, they’re better than many of the state’s one- and two-win teams.

Klahowya has also been in a position to win almost all of its games, but hasn’t been able to get timely plays when most needed.

Case in point?

The Eagles racked up 100 more yards than the Wolves, but couldn’t parlay those gains into a victory. Klahowya gained 353 yards through the air and on the ground to Sequim’s 243.

Hamblet said due to injuries that have depleted the Eagles’ depth, the offense had a different feel Friday.

It worked, as the 26 points are the most Klahowya has put on the board this season.

“It’s the result of kind of having to make things work with the kids we have,” Hamblet said.

But Friday wasn’t injury-free for the Eagles, as running back Chris Miller, who logged 18 yards on 6 touches went down with an injury to his right knee.

“That’s going to be a big hurt for us,” Hamblet said.

But he also said the Eagles would be getting a boost in the form of Sam Rucker’s return.

Solaita had his top game to date, rushing for 137 yards on 24 carries, leading to three touchdowns. He also ran in a two-point conversion.

Jordan Green and Cody Kirkpatrick also busted big runs of more than 50 yards, with Green taking three carries for 76 yards and Kirkpatrick adding 5 rushes for 79 yards, including a 13-yard score.

Next up for Klahowya is Chimacum, who is just 1-5 this year (0-2 in the Nisqually League Olympic Division).

“It’s not going to be easy. They’re tough, they’ve got tough kids,” Hamblet said.

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