Puyallup 28, South Kitsap 7

(Puyallup, WA)

A Saturday night matchup in the SPSL 4A put an end to the week and it ended up being a scare for the #5 ranked Puyallup Vikings. The South Kitsap Wolves came into the matchup ready to throw everything they had at the Vikings to try to shake the SPSL to its core. While South Kitsap did put the rest of the league on notice, it would be Puyallup using a big third quarter to stay perfect on the young season.

South Kitsap surprised the Vikings early with an onside kick to start the game. Puyallup recovered the kick, but a quick three stops forced an early fourth down for Puyallup. Head coach Brian Grout opted to go for it. Jacob Velasco kept it on a quarterback draw, but the Wolves were all over it. Velasco was brought down in the backfield and South Kitsap forced a turnover on downs to get the ball in Viking territory.

It would be ground and pound for the Wolves as per usual. Brody Mehling and Nate Ericson marched inside the 10 and were helped out by a couple of penalties by Puyallup. Once they got inside the 10-yard line, the South Kitsap offense struggled to punch the ball in the endzone. The Wolves faced a 4th and goal from about the two-yard line. The 6’4 266-pound Josiah Asuega would be called upon and would come up big for South Kitsap. Asuega pushed his way into the endzone to give South Kitsap an early 7-0 lead.

Puyallup would have a long drive on their next possession. The Vikings would also march the ball down inside the South Kitsap 10-yard line and were yards from potentially tying the game. A 15-yard penalty moved them all the way back to the 21-yard line with the Vikings facing 3rd and goal from there. Jacob Velasco would escape the pocket but Josiah Asuega would track him down for a sack to make it 4th down. Puyallup would attempt a 42-yard field goal, but it would just go wide left and South Kitsap once again kept the Vikings off the scoreboard.

Puyallup really started slowing down the South Kitsap offense after that. Puyallup would get the ball back and made a change at quarterback. Sophomore Kaden Rolfsness took over and immediately changed the game. A quick button hook turned into so much more when Dane Parker broke a couple of tackles and got a downfield block in what turned into a 42-yard touchdown. One pass from Rolfsness had the score even at 7-7.

South Kitsap would have the ball but would be happy to take it to halftime with the score tied at 7-7. The Wolves also got the ball to start the 2nd half, but the Viking defense was fired up after the break and forced a quick three and out. The short passes then paid off for Puyallup. South Kitsap bit on a fake screen and Rolfsness would float a 21-yard touchdown pass to Mal Durant to give the Vikings their first lead of the game at 14-7.

This was the turning point of the game for Puyallup. Once again, the Vikings forced another three and out and were getting the ball back in solid field position. Penalties backed Puyallup back to the South Kitsap 30-yard line. It would be a similar play for the Vikings as a pump fake on a five yard out drew the defense in and Rolfsness again dropped one into Mal Durant for a 30-yard touchdown. It was Rolfsness’ third touchdown pass in just four completions in the game. More importantly, it gave the Vikings some breathing room with a 21-7 lead.

It was then South Kitsap making a change at quarterback as senior Mason Elena took over under center. On a big third down, Elena would throw a strike down the middle of the field to Braden Skovald who would haul it in for a 31-yard gain to keep the drive alive. The teams then switched ends of the field for the start of the 4th quarter. The Wolves got inside the 10-yard line but would then get backed up to 4th and goal at the 11. A fake toss had Elena roll to his right but tracking him down from his blindside would be Duke Tagalego for a sack and a turnover on downs.

Puyallup then went on a long, time-consuming drive as they looked to kill as much of the clock as they could. Not only would they eat away at most of the clock, but they would also put the game away with an eight-yard touchdown run by Dane Parker. The Wolves couldn’t pull anything out on their last drive and the Puyallup Vikings would come away with a hard fought 28-7 win.

Our MVP of the game was Dane Parker had 72 total yards combined on the ground and in the air with two touchdowns and some big tackles from the secondary on defense for the Vikings. Kaden Rolfsness went 5/10 through the air for 104 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for 41 yards. Mal Durant came up with some big catches with three of them for 60 yards and two touchdowns. South Kitsap was led by Josiah Asuega who had 11 carries for 33 yards and a touchdown and a sack on defense. Brody Mehling added nine carries for 32 yards and Jorden Lee had nine carries for 23 yards.

The Puyallup Vikings move to 3-0 on the season and will look to stay undefeated next week when they host Sumner. South Kitsap drops to 1-2 with the hard-fought defeat but the Wolves will try to bounce back on their home field when they host Olympia on Friday.

Video Highlights

Josiah Asuega and the Wolves strike first

Puyallup ties the game

Rolfsness to Durant give the Vikings the lead




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