PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles football team got off to a slow start, but thanks to a stifling defense and big plays, especially from its special teams, the Roughriders pulled away in the second half to win 28-7.
Kingston scored on a time-consuming 70-yard drive early in the second quarter, but that was the only score the Roughriders’ defense allowed all game. The Riders also came up with with a crucial goal-line stand in the second half to keep the Buccaneers at bay.
After Kingston scored on its long drive, Roughrider Kason Albaugh said “We were not going to let them do that again.”
Coach Dustin Clark said that after that score by Kingston, he told the players “you gotta do your job. They just collected themselves.”
“We just played fast and hard and we wanted it more than they did,” said Jason Hawes, who had a spectacular all-around game on offense, defense and special teams.
The game started with a total of seven possessions by both teams in the first quarter as neither team could get much offense going in a heavy drizzle at Civic Field. Kingston ended one drive by picking off a Parker Nickerson pass, but the Riders returned the favor with a Blake Sohlberg interception.
Kingston got some offense going to start the second quarter. The Buccaneers held the ball for nearly five minutes on a long drive, finally scoring on a 6-yard run by Camden Singer.
Hawes got the Riders rolling on the kickoff, breaking several tackles and spinning his way down to the 50-yard line on a kick return. It was the first of two great special team returns by Hawes.
On a third- and nine, Nickerson, returning to start at quarterback after suffering a leg injury against Sequim several weeks ago, threw a jump ball to Kaiden Point. Point blocked out the defender like a basketball player going for a rebound and caught the ball for a 19-yard gain to set up the Riders at the 13-yard line.
Albaugh, who ran rough all game against a swarming Bucs defense, made a great cutback, finding a wide open hole to his left to score on a 13-yard run. After the Josiah Long kick, it was 7-7.
“He [Albaugh] has really good vision. If all of our running backs had that vision, we couldn’t be beat,” Clark said.
After Albaugh’s touchdown, it was all Roughriders.
With 15 seconds left in the half, Kingston was forced to punt on a fourth and 10. It was a bad punt off the side of the punter’s foot and Hawes, who was supposed to be blocking on the play, picked up the ball after a teammate swiped at it with his hand. He seemingly caught all the Buccaneers players flat-footed, running down the sideline, managing to just stay in bounds for a 70-yard punt return with 8.3 seconds left in the half to make it 14-7.
“He’s one of the fastest guys out there. He just outran all of them,” Clark said of the weird play.
Hawes said he saw the ball tipped by a teammate. “The ball got tipped and I wasn’t going to let them get it,” he said.
Hawes’ 100 yards of kick and punt returns in the second quarter gave the Riders much of their offense.
In the second half, Nickerson hit a wide open Ezra Townsend, who made a nice cutback and run for 34 yards. Hawes added a 10-yard catch.
The Riders had a third-and-three at the 5-yard line when Nickerson hit Blake Sohlberg on a quick slant. Sohlberg had to battle a defender for the ball, but he came up with it for a touchdown to give Port Angeles a 21-7 lead.
Later in the third, the Buccaneers had a chance to get back in the game, driving down the field for a first-and-goal from the 4-yard line. The Roughriders defense held, thanks to a tackle for a loss by Landyn Jones, a stuff tackle inside, a Kingston penalty and finally an incomplete pass on fourth-and-goal.
The Riders started on their own 10-yard line, marching down the field thanks to a 16-yard pass from Nickerson to Jones and 37 yards rushing on two carries by Hawes. Albaugh also had a 19-yard run. The drive stalled with a Kingston interception at the 5-yard line, but the 85-yard drive chewed five minutes off the clock.
Kingston couldn’t gain any momentum from the turnover as the Buccaneers quickly fumbled and Thomas Arand recovered at the 17-yard line.
Nickerson got sacked, moving the Riders back to their 30. Nickerson found Albaugh for a 25-yard reception with a great block thrown by Tanner Flores. Albaugh finished the short drive with a 4-yard run for a score with 3:29 left in the game to make it 28-7.
Kingston had a 70-yard touchdown run in the final minute called back due to a penalty.
The game was senior night with a number of Riders playing in their final home game.
“This game helps our families, helps our seniors,” said Hawes. “This was to help get our seniors a win.”
Albaugh finished with 92 yards rushing and 28 receiving. Hawes had 53 yards on the ground and 12 receiving. Nickerson did have a couple of interceptions, but finished with 141 yards passing. Point had 32 yards receiving and Townsend 39. Arand and Hawes both had a number of tackles for losses while Alejandro Martinez had a sack. Sohlberg had 15 yards receiving, a 20-yard interception return and recovered a teammate’s fumble.
Alex Angevine also had a big kickoff return to open the second half for 30 yards.
Port Angeles (1-5, 2-6) looks to end the year on a high note with a road game Friday at North Mason (1-5, 1-7).
Port Angeles 28, Kingston 7
King. 0 7 0 0 — 7
PA 0 14 7 7 — 28
Kingston — Singer 6 run (kick good), 6:53
Port Angeles — Albaugh 13 run (Long kick good), 3:17
Port Angeles — Hawes 70 punt return (Long kick good), :08
Port Angeles — Sohlberg 5 pass from Nickerson (Long kick good), 3:46
Port Angeles — Albaugh 4 run (Long kick good), 3:29.