Three games into the 2015 season, the Kingston Buccaneers found themselves 0-3 Friday night after losing 13-10 against the Sequim Wolves in the Olympic League opener, following a familiar pattern in their quest for a fourth straight appearance in state post season play.
After opening with two losses against superior non-conference opponents, The Bucs set their sights on the Wolves on a mild, windless, Friday night at Buccaneer Field. Sequim opened the game with a strong running game taking advantage of their huge offensive line running senior tailback Arnold Black primarily up the middle midway into Kingston’s side of the field. The Buc defense stiffened to regain the ball on downs.
Kingston’s first drive lasted three plays forcing them to kick it back to the Wolves, who on the ensuing drive, threw and ran the ball down the field capping their balanced effort with a 15 yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Riley Cowan to senior wide-out Noah Christansen. With a good point after touchdown, Sequim staked themselves to a 7-0 lead with 3:31 remaining in the first quarter.
Undaunted, Kingston’s offense responded with an impressive drive featuring the running of senior tailback Ali Chiquiti (2). Senior quarterback Max English (13) was also able to find some rhythm on this drive connecting with senior tight end Tanner Draper (18) and junior fullback Paul Johnson (42) for nice gains. With the aid of a Sequim personal foul penalty, the Bucs found themselves in the red zone, but a penalty of their own and a quarterback sack stalled this drive leading to a 31 yard field goal by senior Alex Barrett (5), making the score Sequim 7, Kingston 3.
Sequim returned the ensuing kickoff to the Buc’s 31 yard line. This is the point in the game where Kingston’s defense began to assert itself. First, Black left the field following a violent but legal hit. On a third and long, Chiquiti displayed his two way talent by intercepting Cowan’s toss thwarting a prime scoring opportunity for the Wolves.
What seemed like a huge momentum shift in this game quickly returned to Sequim’s favor when the Buc’s quarterback of the future, freshman John Jones’ (11) rollout toss went awry, resulting in a Sequim interception that was returned to Kingston’s 1 yard line, leading to an easy touchdown one play later. On the point after attempt, the Bucs were able to penetrate the line and block the kick making the score Sequim 13, Kingston 3 with 3:12 remaining in the first half. That would be the score heading into the locker room at halftime.
Coach Harder must have inspired the boys in that locker room as they took all of 3:03 to score their first touchdown in conference play. Hard running by Chiquiti and Barret, combined with a key 20 pass and catch from English to senior tight end Adam Wright gave the Buc faithful on hand some hope with only a 13-10 deficit and a lot of time left in the game.
Kingston’s defense asserted itself tremendously the remainder of the game recording several quarterback sacks, and basically shutting down Sequim’s running game. Unfortunately, the Buc offense had trouble moving the ball as well, resulting in the repeated swapping of punts. This wound up being a huge factor in the second half as Sequim’s superior kicking game resulted in superior field position throughout the half.
The key play in the contest occurred with three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter as the Buc’s were mounting a potential game winning drive from their territory. During a run off tackle, Barret was leveled by a Sequim linebacker. He fumbled and the Wolves recovered. In defense of Alex, this observer felt that there should have been a “helmet to helmet” penalty called on the play. It was a vicious blow to the head that was in full view of the linesman. Spilled milk aside, the defense was able to get the ball back with 40 seconds remaining. With no time outs remaining, it was not to be. Your final score: Sequim 13, Kingston 10.
There was much good that came from this game; we ran the ball well, and defended tremendously against an imposing offensive line. As stated in the opening, Kingston is 0-3 heading into this week’s contest at North Mason. Beware to the rest of The Olympic league; the Bucs have been here before. They have you right where they want you!