(University Place, WA) Last year the Curtis Vikings traveled to Olympia on opening weekend and snuck out with a 1 point win over the Bears. This was the beginning of a solid season of 6-3 in league play before losing in the crossover to end their season with a 6-4 season. Vikings Head Coach Darren McKay knew 4 years ago this was going to be a process to bring Curtis back to the top of the SPSL standings and in year 4 there a big expectations and it was crucial to get off to a good start.

The Olympia Bears also ended last season with a much larger goal in mind after going 4-6 last season. They had many starters coming back including the best QB to receiver combination in the SPSL Cam Downing to Drew Carlson. But then the unthinkable struck the Bears during Spring practice where Downing tore his ACL and is out for the season. This forced the Bears to switch Carlson from receiver to QB and start from scratch.

In the 1st quarter the Curtis Vikings took advantage of a short punt on Olympia’s 1st possession and drove down to the Bears 11 but a fumble turned the ball over to Olympia. The Bears then committed 3 straight penalties of a holding and 2 false starts to push them back to their own 3 yard line. The Bears would then go on a 12 play drive with about half run and half pass but on half of the passes Carlson took off and turned them into run plays. They got down to the 35 of Curtis but a holding call pushed them back to the 45. Carlson then stepped up and dropped in a perfect floater over the top of the defender into the hands of Coen Cronk who took it in for the score. Benjamin Scott added the PAT and with 3:08 to play in the 1st quarter Olympia led 7-0.

Curtis would then answer with a pair of touchdowns including one from nearly the exact same spot as the Bears did on the 1st play of the 2nd quarter. Curtis Sr QB Rocco Koch has always been known as a runner and knew coming in this season he had to balance it out more an focused on getting the ball down the field. On the 6th play of their 2nd drive Koch lobbed one up to Xavier Ahrens who hauled it in for the Vikings 1st TD of the season. Ethan Bell added the PAT and it was tied 7-7 early in the 2nd quarter.

After holding the Bears and getting the ball back on their own 32, Koch rolled to his right and saw a seem up the sideline and jetted 68 yards for the 1 play touchdown drive, Bell booted the extra point and Curtis led 14-7.

Olympia would not back down and came right back at the Vikings when tragedy struck for Olympia again. This time a serious leg fracture to SR offensive lineman Cole Irish which delayed the game for at least 20 minutes. The injury was apparent immediately and he was taken by ambulance to the hospital.

Cole’s teammates came right back and finished what they started on this drive capped off with Drew Carlson keeping it himself and driving in for the score from the 8-yard line. The PAT was blocked and with 3:12 to play in the half it was a 1 point game with Curtis up 14-13.

Curtis got the ball to start the 2nd half and it was the most important drive of the game for both teams. If the Bears could hold and get the ball back it would continue that momentum from the end of the 1st half. Curtis was determined to take that momentum back and did just that with a 10-play 65-yard drive finished off with a 14-yard strike from Koch to Ahrens. The Vikings took control on the ground pounding the Bears defense with 8 running plays which opened up the play-action pass for the score. The PAT was added and with 7:52 to go in the 3rd it was 21-13.

The Bears were forced to punt on their 1st drive of the 2nd half and Curtis began to open up. Their 4th TD was the 3rd from Koch to Ahrens to make it 28-13. The Vikings got the ball back on the Olympia 25 and Koch hit Parker Mady on another 1 play drive to push their lead to 35-13. Ahrens then picked off the Bears the 1st of 2 INT’s for Xavier and Curtis scored again 1 play later a 45-yard toss from Koch to Mady this time and it was 42-13 with 9:11 to play in the game. Curtis added an Ethan Bell field goal late in the game for the final 45-13 score.

Koch finished the night with 128 yards rushing with 1 TD and 10-11 passing for 193 yards and 5 touchdowns for 321 total yards. Xavier Ahrens made 3 catches for 93 yards and 3 TD’s and on defense had 2 picks, Parker Mady hauled in 4 catches for 85 yards and 2 scores and ran the ball 3 times for 30 yards. Curtis finished the night with 430 yards offensively.

For Olympia, Drew Carlson was 7-13 with a TD and 2 Ints and ran the ball 12 times for 82 yards and a score. Coen Cronk had 2 catches for 45 yards and a TD and Cale Allen ran the ball 10 times for 31 yards.

Our MVP of the game went to Curtis QB Rocco Koch and it was tight with Xavier Ahrens right there but having a hand in all 6 TD’s for Koch made it tough to get around. Curtis is 1-0 and will travel to Sumner next Friday for an early season showdown with the Spartans. Olympia will try to bounce back next week hosting Emerald Ridge on Friday night.

Below are interviews and highlights. If you’d like to watch the replay of the game you can find it on the NFHS Network on this link.

ESN talks with Game MVP Rocco Koch

ESN talks with Curtis Head Coach Darren McKay

Highlight Reel

Olympia Strikes First


Curtis Takes the lead on a big run from Rocco Koch

Curtis sets the tone for the 2nd half on the 1st possession of the 2nd half



By paulb

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