Wildcats take first step

A huge crowd packed into Wildcat Memorial Stadium for the historic first playoff game at the new facility, a perfect night for a football game and a come-from-behind victory. What could be better?

The Navy town crowd arrived at the stadium pumped after Navy’s first victory over Notre Dame since the glory days when Roger Staubach was the midshipmen’s quarterback, and the Oak Harbor Wildcats didn’t disappoint, defeating the Bellarmine Prep Lions 20-10 to take the first step toward repeating as Class 4A state champions.

“It was a game where our guys were slow to get involved,” coach Dave Ward said. “Sometimes, you never know when that’s going to happen.”

The Lions shocked the hometown crowd by running a reverse on the opening kickoff. Patrick Shine took the ball down to the Wildcats’ 6-yard line before finally being corralled.

In a preview of what was going to transpire for the next 45-plus minutes of action, Oak Harbor’s defense rose to the occasion and the Lions had to settle for a 25-yard Robert Guernsey field goal and a 3-0 lead.

On Oak Harbor’s first possession of the ball the Wildcats made things look easy, marching 68 yards down the field with Johnny Encinas hooking up with Michael Bell eight plays later on a 4-yard touchdown pass.

Mike Johnston booted the extra point and with 7:30 left in the opening period, Oak Harbor was on top 7-3 and it appeared the game was going to turn into a barn burner.

But the fast start quickly turned into a game of field position and defensive stands, with a few key penalties thrown in.

The score remained 7-3 until the 1:03 mark of the second period when Rick Miller capped a 9-play, 65-yard drive, punching the ball into the end zone to give Bellarmine Prep a 9-7 lead.

John McDonald added the extra point and the Lions went into halftime ahead 10-7, stunning the crowd that came to enjoy Oak Harbor’s first home playoff game in years.

But not to worry.

As the situation has been in many games this season, the Wildcats made some adjustments in the locker room and came out on fire to open the second half of action.

“We had a good halftime and established what we can do and how we were going to do it,” Ward said. “We came out and played with a little more heart and a little more desire.”

Oak Harbor was on the move after the kickoff, pushing the ball to the Lions’ 42-yard line before a fumble gave Bellarmine Prep the ball.

On the first play from scrimmage halfback Tim Ramos had the ball stripped and Oak Harbor’s DeVante Young made the recovery, and the Wildcats were back in business 40 yards from the Lions’ goal line.

Most of the game, Young was assigned to cover Dan Durkin, one of the Lions’ fleet wide receivers, in passing situations.

“He was pretty fast and he got away from me one time,” Young said. “I knew I had to shut him down because I didn’t want the coaches to get mad at me.”

Durkin caught eight passes for 96 yards, but was kept out of the end zone.

Four plays after the fumble recovery, Rodrick Rumble beat Durkin on a jump ball pass from Encinas in the right corner of the end zone and the Wildcats were ahead for good when the senior wide receiver hauled in the 26-yard scoring strike.

“It was a let down night where we dropped some balls,” Rumble said. “We’re going to have to kick it up for next week’s game and that’s what we are going to do.”

Rumble caught five passes in the game for 100 yards.

Johnston connected on his second extra point for a 14-10 lead.

With 12 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Chris Valencia put the final points on the board scooting into the end zone from 16 yards out.

Valencia carried the ball nine times in the game for 44 yards.

Johnston’s point-after kick was blocked making the score 20-10.

In the fourth quarter Oak Harbor’s defensive team really went to work and sacked Lion quarterback Lucas Schindele four times.

“I think I got four sacks in the game,” defensive end Jake Rouser said. “We picked it up in that second half and made plays when we needed to.”

Bellarmine Prep’s defensive team also gave Encinas some problems.

“It felt like they were bringing the house at me, but our line held them off and we were able to make some big plays,” he said.

Encinas was 17-for-30 in passing for 226 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

Coach Ward agreed the Lions played a good game.

“They have a good team both offensively and defensively,” he said. “They executed pretty well and they throw a lot of stuff at you with their spread formation on offense and their blitzes on defense.”

Donovan Hunt led the Wildcats’ rushing attack with 67 yards on nine carries.

Oak Harbor’s next test will be at 7 p.m. Saturday in Olympia against the Bears who were 45-0 winners over Skyview in the opening round of the playoffs.

Oak Harbor 20,

Bellarmine Prep 10

First quarter

BP — Robert Guernsey 25 FG 10:03

OH — Michael Bell 4 pass from Johnny Encinas (Mike Johnston kick) 7:30

Second quarter

BP — Rick Miller 2 run (John McDonald kick)

Third quarter

OH — Rodrick Rumble 26 pass from Encinas (Johnston kick) 7:15

OH — Chris Valencia 16 run (Kick blocked) :12

Game stats BP OH

First downs 12 15

Rushes-yards 39-106 27-125

Passing yards 117 226

Fumbles-lost 1-1 1-1

Sacks-yards lost 8-38 1-5

Penalties-yards 7-70 3-15


RUSHING — Bellarmine Prep: Patrick Shine 6-48, Tim Ramos 9-30, Lucas Schindele 20-27, Rick Miller 2-1, Dan Durkin 2-0. Oak Harbor: Donovan Hunt 9-67, Chris Valencia 9-44, Johnny Encinas 5-11, Rodrick Rumble 1-6, Stephen Lewis 3-minus 3 .

PASSING — Bellarmine Prep: Schindele 11-21-0 0 117. Oak Harbor: Encinas 17-30-1 2 226.

RECEIVING — Bellarmine Prep: Durkin 8-96, Shine 2-12, Robert Guernsey 1-9. Oak Harbor: Rumble 5-100, Hunt 3-54, Michael Bell 3-26, Jordan Young 2-21, Valencia 2-21, Jake Rouser 2-12.

Class 4A playoff scores

Saturday, Nov. 3

Oak Harbor 20, Bellarmine Prep 10

Inglemoor 7, Rogers 3

Cascade 27, Federal Way 21

Olympia 45, Skyview 0

Woodinville 37, Heritage 14

South Kitsap 28, Kamiak 20

Bothell 35, Gig Harbor 0

Central Kitsap 31, Puyallup 16

Friday, Nov. 2

Snohomish 13, Kentwood 12–

Edmonds-Woodway 24, Ballard 6

Graham-Kapowsin 33, Evergreen 28

Mariner 21, Kentridge 17

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