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Eagles punish Kingston with ground game
Klahowya found its running game Thursday — big time.
Andre Moore Jr. and Cody Hertenstein each rushed for two touchdowns, Dan Zimny added another and the Eagles wore down Kingston to secure a much-needed 41-14 victory at Silverdale Stadium.
“It was a team effort tonight, which has been missing a little bit to be quite honest,” coach Brad Hamblet said.
Kingston took a 7-0 lead on the opening drive of the game, but Andre Moore’s first touchdown, an 82-yard run, tied the game with 7:30 left in the first quarter.
The Eagles then took a 14-7 lead following a snuffed Kingston drive, with Hertenstein scoring on a 50-yard run up the middle on the first play of the ensuing possession.
“The line did their job, that’s for sure,” Hertenstein said. “They opened up holes.”
The score ballooned to 21-7 early in the second quarter after Klahowya (3-4 overall, 1-2 league) survived a Kingston drive prolonged by two fake punts, one through the air and the other on the ground. After the second fake punt put the ball on KSS’ 27-yard-line, Klahowya recovered a Bucs fumble and capitalized five players later, when Hertenstein scored on a 27-yard run.
Zimny scored minutes later to make it 28-7.
But Kingston engineered a scoring drive in the final minutes of the half, capped by a Sam English 15-yard touchdown reception with 19 seconds left which cut the lead to 28-14.
“There was a concern that they were going to come out and really come after us (in the second half),” Hamblet said of the late score, giving Kingston (0-4, 1-6) momentum.
Hamblet’s concerns were put to rest, however, as KSS methodically moved the ball on the opening drive of the second half, chewing up nearly seven minutes. Moore capped the drive with an 8-yard run, his second touchdown of the game.
“We took it out of them with the long drive to open the third quarter,” Hamblet said.
With the score 34-14, Hamblet turned to his ground attack the rest of the way. Moore, Hertenstein and Zimny shared the load.
“With the offense we run, we do like to be on the front end of the scoreboard, if we can be,” Hamblet said of his Wing-T offense.
Moore added a third score on the first play of the fourth quarter, taking a slant 67 yards to the end zone. He cut across the field after catching the ball around the KSS 45 and simply outran the Bucs’ defense.
“We did better tonight in the passing game than we have in the past,” Hamblet said, pointing to Darell Newman, who started in place of Zimny. “We’re going to continue to work on it and hopefully have it honed a little more next week.”
While Newman managed the game well, not throwing an interception, the ground game was the difference.
“We had everybody working hard — the line blocked better tonight, Cody ran really hard, they all ran really hard,” Hamblet said.
Zimny, too, had a nice debut at fullback. He made blocks to spring both Moore’s 82-yarder and Hertenstein’s 50-yarder while also running with power on his own carries.
“(Zimny) ran really hard, he made some tough runs on his own,” Hamblet said. “He’s one of the toughest guys we have on the team.”
Hertenstein was helped off the field late in the fourth quarter after an injury to his left ankle. Neither he nor Hamblet could say how serious the injury was.
“I was trying to make a play, I broke a few tackles and twisted it up,” Hertenstein said.
The injury dampened what otherwise was nearly a perfect game for Hertenstein, who said the team was re-energized this week despite three consecutive losses.
“This week in practice Coach said it’s the start of a new season,” he said. “We may not have lived up to the expectations we had for ourselves, but we have to keep fighting.”
Those expectations included a playoff berth, which, with three games remaining and the team in sixth place in the Olympic/Nisqually League, seems unlikely.
But the Eagles took plenty away from Thursday’s win, primarily confidence on offense.
“It’s pretty nice because it gives you a sense of confidence, to see other teammates break a long run,” Hertenstein said.
“We’re just going to keep working hard,” Moore added.
Klahowya travels to Steilacoom (3-0, 6-0) Oct. 24 before returning for the home finale Nov. 1 against Eatonville. The Eagles’ final game of the season is at Washington Nov. 7.