TUMWATER, Wash. – North Kitsap football was caught, cornered and with no options available other than persevere or go home, the Vikings showed their resolve.
The Vikings forced three red zone turnovers, overcame a 15-0 deficit and scored 29 unanswered points to secure the program’s first state championship game appearance with a 29-22 victory over W.F. West on Saturday at Sid Otton Field.
The Vikings (12-1) will play top-ranked Lynden, 41-14 winners over Enumclaw, in the Class 2A championship at 5 p.m. Saturday at Puyallup’s Sparks Stadium.
"We knew from the beginning we were going to go to the state final," Vikings junior Logan Sloman said. "And we made it happen today."
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The WIAA 2A state semifinal started in the worst way for the No. 3 Vikings. Second-ranked W.F. West quarterback Gavin Fugate was a perfect 6-for-6 on a 67-yard opening drive, complete with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Gage Brumfield. Then Ross Kelley hauled in an interception and weaved through traffic, broke two tackles and danced into the end zone for a 23-yard interception return and a 15-0 Bearcats lead.
That was all the vaunted North Kitsap defense would allow for the next 37 minutes. The Vikings scored 29 unanswered points, thanks to two red zone interceptions — Logan Sloman and Benen Lawler — and a goal-line stand that resulted in a turnover on downs. In total, North Kitsap intercepted Fugate (26-43, 414 passing yards) four times.
"You’re always going to face adversity on the field," Sloman said. "It’s just finding that rhythm, finding that connection again."
Offensively, Sloman caught nine passes for 162 yards and a 29-yard third-quarter touchdown catch from Cole Edwards (22-31, 341 passing yards) to give the Vikings their first lead of the game. Jaxon Gore added eight catches for 154 yards and a 63-yard touchdown catch. Lawler also rushed for 120 yards on 29 carries. Diego DeLuna kicked field goals of 33, 20 and 34 yards.
For W.F. West, which ends its season 11-2 — three receivers eclipsed triple-digit receiving yards: Brumfield (eight catches, 109 yards), Cameron Amoroso (eight catches, 133 yards) and Cody Pennington (six catches, 108 yards).
NK 0 10 13 6 — 29
WFW 15 0 0 7 — 22
WFW — Gage Brumfield 6 pass from Gavin Fugate (Cristo Parriot pass from Fugate)
WFW — Ross Kelley 23 interception return (Cody Pennington kick)
NK — Diego DeLuna 33 FG
NK — Carter Dungy 1 run (DeLuna kick)
NK — Logan Sloman 29 pass from Cole Edwards (run failed)
NK — Jaxon Gore 63 pass from Edwards (DeLuna kick)
NK — DeLuna 20 FG
NK — DeLuna 34 FG
WFW — Cameron Amoroso 26 pass from Fugate (Pennington kick)
Rushing — NK: Cole Edwards 6-14, Benan Lawler 29-120, Logan Sloman 2-3, Karsen Walsh 1-10, Carter Dungy 7-40; WFW: Gage Brumfield 1-9, Tucker Land 5-2, Gavin Fugate 9-24, Cody Pennington 1-(-5), Evan Stajduhar 2-(-3).
Passing — NK: Cole Edwards 22-31-1-341; WFW: Gavin Fugate 26-43-4-414.
Receiving — NK: Benen Lawler 1-6, Caleb Callahan 2-12, Logan Sloman 9-162, Jaxon Gore 8-154, Carter Dungy 1-2, Owen Wilkenson 1-5; WFW: Gage Brumfield 8-109, Cameron Amoroso 8-133, Cody Pennington 6-108, Evan Stajduhar 4-64.