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Eagles fly past North Kitsap, return to state | Football
It was all working for the Lindbergh football team Friday night as the Eagles topped North Kitsap 38-17 to advance to the 2A state tournament for the third time in the past four years.
"It's a beautiful thing," said Lindbergh coach Pat O'Grady. "We've kind of got it figured out. Hopefully it stays figured out."
The Eagles' (6-3) defense was opportunistic all night and recovered two first-half fumbles by the Vikings.
North Kitsap actually jumped out to an early lead with an interception returned 52 yards for a touchdown on Lindbergh's second offensive play. The Eagles responded right away as Calebse Cange returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown to tie the game.
Later in the quarter, Matt Stuart hit Cam Callen for an 11-yard touchdown. On the next drive, Joe Simpson came up with a big hit for a loss to force the Vikings to turn the ball over on downs.
Lindbergh went on another long drive eventually capped by a Stuart touchdown to Derrick Holt from 21 yards out. Running back Daniel Wiitanen rushed for 39 yards on the drive as the Eagle coaching staff sought to take exploit what they saw from the Viking defense.
"Our offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage a lot more than we thought we would," O'Grady said. "Once we figured out we could run on them, that's what we did. Just put the ball in the hands of the horse and let him go."
Lindbergh went in to the half up 21-7, then opened the second half with good field position after a failed North Kitsap onside kick. The Eagles drove and scored on a 21-yard field goal from Holt to lead 24-7.
North Kitsap grabbed some momentum in the third quarter with 10 straight points. The Vikings defense stopped Lindbergh far into their own territory. Standing in his end zone, Holt dropped to a knee to grab a low snap on a punt attempt for a safety.
The Vikings turned around and scored on a six-play drive when A.J. Milyard passed to Andrew Urquhart for a seven-yard touchdown. The two connected again on a two-point conversion to bring North Kitsap closer, 24-17.
But Lindbergh had an answer. The Eagles embarked on an eight-play drive, highlighted by a 32-yard completion from Stuart to Cange. Then Stuart hit Holt for a six-yard touchdown to completely stop the Vikings' momentum.
"We just came back and got a big play of our own and that kind of squelched it," O'Grady said. "We played hard both sides of the football all night long and eventually we wore them down."
Callen scored on a seven-yard rush later in the quarter.
Lindbergh will play either Lakewood or Lynden in the 2A state tournament next weekend.