Sports

Cougs spoil Bremerton homecoming

Jeff Melin bursts through Bremerton’s line during CK’s 30-0 win Friday. Melin found the end zone three times in the win.  - Kent Soule/Hoot Creek Photography
Jeff Melin bursts through Bremerton’s line during CK’s 30-0 win Friday. Melin found the end zone three times in the win.
— image credit: Kent Soule/Hoot Creek Photography

Central Kitsap didn’t let Friday night’s showers rain on their parade as they spoiled Bremerton’s Homecoming with a 30-0 win at Memorial Stadium.

For the first quarter of football, the Cougars looked like they were still in a haze from an unsettling loss to North Kitsap Oct. 7. Players admitted as much to coach Mark Keel.

“Guys were coming over to the sidelines saying, ‘I’m still thinking about North Kitsap, Coach’,” Keel said. “The way we lost that game, that’s a tough one to get over.”

The Knights’ Cholo Circulado swooped in for a hefty sack on CK’s first play from scrimmage, setting the tone for an impressive defensive stance for the Bridge Division’s last-place team early.

As much as the Bremerton offense tried to hand the Cougars a gift with a series of three-and-outs and short punts, Central Kitsap struggled to take advantage of the short field.

A 37-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Richard Kendrick on Central’s next possession and the Knights’ Homecoming crowd could smell an upset cooking.

“I think ’cause we started off bad in the first quarter, we had to get our minds set,” said Cougars running back Jeff Melin, who ran for three touchdowns. “Once we’re on, we’re on.”

Penalties helped Central Kitsap get almost halfway down the field early in the second and it was Melin who helped turn things on with a 6-yard dash into the end zone to open up the scoring with 9:16 left in the first half.

The inspired Cougar D forced their second three-and-out in four tries and a 20-yard punt got CK the ball back at the Knights’ 40-yard line.

After two plays left them five yards behind the original line of scrimmage, Matt Tougas found Danny VanDatta well behind the Knights’ secondary for a 45-yard bomb.

The way CK was playing defense Friday, the first two touchdowns were assuredly more than enough to seal up this game. But special teams wanted a moment in the spotlight in order to make up for the blocked kick.

With the Knights backed up to the shadow of their own goal line, Matt Andrakin snuck through the line to block a Zack Dunmire punt that trickled out of the back of the end zone for a safety with 3 minutes left in the first half.

The Cougars fumbled the opening kickoff of the second half, then stumbled to a three-and-out before a one-play, seven-second scoring drive on their next possession. Melin took it in again, racing past a host of would-be tacklers for his second touchdown.

CK marched back down to the Knights’ 21 to close out the third quarter but two plays into the fourth, Moises Lovinaria picked off a shot into the end zone to kill the threat.

The next time the Cougs got the ball, they capitalized on playing some smart football as a hard count drew the Bremerton defense offsides on fourth-and-2 at the Knights’ 36.

Kyle Poss caught a 19-yard pass on the next play before Melin rounded out the evening’s scoring with a 12-yard scamper with 6:35 left on the clock.

It was sloppy football from there on out as the two teams traded turnovers on Bremerton’s half of the field, with the Knights botching the snap on another punt and Chris Martindale snatching up a pair of Cougar fumbles for Bremerton.

“You come out and play like we played last week (against North), you need to redeem yourself,” Keel said. “We were after the ball. We kind of had an idea of what they wanted to do offensively.”

Although his defense quickly solved the Bremerton offense, Keel had praise for what he saw as a much-improved Knight squad.

“Those guys played us tough,” he said. “They’ve gotten a lot better.”

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