Cougars eye return trip

Tonight, the Cougars look to accomplish what they also did last year: reach the state playoffs.

Coach Mark Keel’s team is playing well — the Cougars are riding a four-game win streak — and received a somewhat favorable draw, Snohomish, for the state preliminary round. Snohomish, the Class 4A WesCo North No. 2 seed, has a one-dimensional run-heavy offense, meaning if the Cougar defensive line and linebackers play well, CK should stay close.

Both teams feature talented running backs, with CK’s Howard McDonald and Snohomish’s Ray Purviance each figuring to have big workloads, especially if weather conditions deteriorate. Forecasts call for a 70 percent chance of rain with temperatures dipping into the 40s.

Coach Eric Allen will remember this football season as one he and his players salvaged, turning early struggles into mid- and late-season success.

The Olympic football team won its final four games of the regular season to earn the Olympic/Western League’s No. 4 seed and a berth to the state preliminary round where it faced undefeated Lakes (9-0) last night. Results from that game were unavailable at press time.

“I’m real proud of these guys, these kids really fought hard this year,” Allen said. “There was a lot of adversity out there, a lot of people jumped off the bandwagon.”

The team entered last night’s game against Lakes healthier than it’s been all season, having quarterback Zach Bird and other key contributors back after early season injuries.

“We’re at full strength now going into the playoffs, which not many teams can say,” Allen said.

The fact that Oly even made the playoffs — the team opened the season 0-5 — is a feat in itself. Allen pointed to the team’s 21-14 Oct. 10 road-win against Yelm as the turning point of the season.

“We had three really tough weeks ahead of us and we knew we had to win all of them to even have a shot,” Allen said, referring to Yelm, Port Angeles and North Kitsap.

The Trojans beat not only Yelm, but also PA, NK and to close out the season on Homecoming, Bremerton.

Allen hopes the turnaround, resulting in a playoff berth, will help put Olympic on the football map outside the Kitsap Peninsula.

“Outside of the peninsula people don’t know about Olympic,” Allen said. “One of my goals when I got hired here was to change that throughout the state, and this is one of the ways you do it.”

KSS (3-6) ended the season last night against Washington after a Nov. 1 overtime loss against Eatonville, 28-21. Results were unavailable at press time.

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