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Sentinels end Kingston Buccaneers' playoff series | Football
POULSBO — The Kingston Buccaneers' playoff series ended after their first game Friday night.
The Steilacoom Sentinels defeated the Bucs at North Kitsap High School Stadium 38-17. The Sentinels go on to play the Othello Huskies next week. The Bucs retire their uniforms until the 2012-13 season.
Kingston coach Dan Novick said he did not feel like the coaches did an adequate job of preparing the Bucs for the Sentinels. The Sentinels' physical game of football outmatched that of the Bucs.
"Usually we're in that roll," Novick said. "They turned the tables on us and outcoached us and out-executed us."
The game started with the Sentinels recovering their own onside kick.
The onside kick would become a trend in the game Friday night. However, the Sentinels' first drive would end shortly and be turned over to the Bucs, who began on their own 20-yard line.
The Bucs' drive, too, was shortlived and Kingston's Sam Byers punted to midfield.
The Sentinels' second drive ended in an 18-yard touchdown by Sentinels player Jacob Esseln — Esseln quickly became key to the Sentinels' offense and continue that roll throughout the night. A two-point conversion set the score at 8-0 for the Sentinels.
A second onside kick by the Sentinels resulted in another recovery for the team.
Sentinels coach Brian Koch said the Bucs took the usage of the onside kick from his team. The Bucs and Sentinels were once in the same football league, Nisqually. Koch said the Sentinels were ready for the onside by the Bucs and planned to use it against the team.
The Sentinels, however, would again be unable to do anything with the drive and punt the ball away.
The Bucs second drive — beginning with less than 2 minutes left in the first quarter — brought the team's momentum up after Kingston's Bobby Reece ran 68 yards to put the ball at the Sentinels' own 3-yard line. A handoff to Kingston's Nick Tabanera put the Bucs one point behind (8-7).
Before the second quarter, Reece recovered a Buccaneer onside kick on the Sentinels' 35-yard line.
With the second quarter under way, Byers' pass to Kingston George Marinan for 3 yards and a one-yard run put the Bucs at fourth down and two. Byers ran for 5 yards to get a first down. On the Sentinels' own 22, Byers handed the ball to Tabanera for a gain of 4 yards and followed the gain with a pass for 18 yards to Marinan for the Bucs' second touchdown.
Up 14-8, the Bucs tried to hold onto the lead, but an unsuccessful onside kick put the Sentinels at their own 43. The Sentinels used the field position to score a second touchdown after Esseln drove down field. Another two points after the touchdown put the Sentinels up 16-14 with less than five minutes left in the game.
The first half ended 16-14.
The second half began with a Sentinel drive that resulted in a third Sentinel touchdown and two-point conversion and less than eight minutes left in the third quarter.
Behind 24-14, the Bucs' only drive of the third quarter brought the team to fourth down and goal. The Bucs kicked a successful field goal and the final points for the Bucs of the season.
Though the Bucs were able to stop the Sentinels short on their next drive, turning the ball over, a loose ball sent the team back down the field into its own territory and forced the punt.
Starting at their own 45 in the fourth quarter, the Sentinels' Esseln ran for a 52-yard touchdown and, after an injury timeout, a two-point conversion.
The Bucs continued to fight downfield as the the clock wound down, but were unable to finish plays.
The Sentinels scored once more to end the game 38-17.
Koch said the reason he pushed the team for the last touchdown was because he was nervous the Bucs were going to be able to turn the game around. The success the Bucs had with the onside kick in the past made him think the team still had a shot.
"I was afraid they were going to steal the ball and then onside kick and get come momentum," he said. "It was out of respect for their team that we had to score that last touchdown.
"They're good, there's no doubt about it … It was a fight out there."