CRUNCH TIME FOR EJ

UPDATE | Rivals vanquished in home opener versus Kingston

Posted 9/8/22

Well, it wasn’t the fast start the East Jefferson Rivals football team envisioned after Week 1.

The Rivals were defeated thoroughly against the Kingston High School Buccaneers 50-23 Friday …

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CRUNCH TIME FOR EJ

UPDATE | Rivals vanquished in home opener versus Kingston

Posted

Well, it wasn’t the fast start the East Jefferson Rivals football team envisioned after Week 1.

The Rivals were defeated thoroughly against the Kingston High School Buccaneers 50-23 Friday evening.

For EJ Head Coach Tony “Haddy” Haddenham, the biggest flaws he saw on the field came from lack of experience, poor tackling, and lack of execution on both sides of the ball.

“Consistency, execution, and kids learning our system, as I said, we have 18 freshmen and they’ve got to learn our system,” Haddenham said.

“We weren’t in good positions to tackle very well tonight, we missed a lot of tackles. We were hitting hard but we didn’t wrap up,” he said.

Lining Port Townsend’s Memorial Athletic Field in their brand-new uniforms, the energy was high for the EJ squad and carried into the first quarter.

EJ started with the ball and showed a new offensive approach from last year’s run-heavy strategy. Utilizing quarterback Cash Holmes and wide receivers Brody Moore and Gary Zambor, the Rivals passed their way to Kingston’s end before stalling out and punting to the Buccaneers.

EJ’s defense forced a fumble halfway through the opening quarter to give the Rivals a prime chance for points in the Bucs’ red zone.

The Rivals couldn’t get their ground game going and had to settle for a field goal chipped in by freshman Jameson Henery with five minutes left in the first quarter.

After getting the ball back on offense, Kingston started to punish the Rivals, almost scoring a 70-plus yard passing touchdown that was prevented by senior safety Aaron Glanz who stretched out to make the stop.

Eventually the Bucs got the better of EJ with a swift QB sneak to the left that put Kingston up 6-3 following a failed extra point conversion.

The Rivals fell short on offense and the Buccaneers tacked on another touchdown at the start of the second quarter from a 30-yard run. The score sat at 12-3 with EJ in need of points.

Glanz got the momentum going with a solid kick return, starting the offense at midfield. The EJ offense finally started to click as Holmes utilized Moore, his speed receiver, who earn a first down to push the home team forward.

A new addition to EJ’s pass-heavy strategy was senior Siaumau Auseuga at tight end. The senior propelled the Rivals’ drive further with a catch up the middle to move the chains.

Another Holmes pass to Moore brought the Rivals to the red zone, but Kingston’s defense kept them out of Touchdown Town yet again. EJ was just short on the field goal, and the Bucs took possession with nine minutes left until halftime.

The Rivals’ secondary was burned as a 50-yard touchdown pass further separated the Bucs from the home team. Kingston was up 18-3 with seven minutes left in the second quarter.

Returning with urgency, EJ’s offense showed its potential with a rocket pass from Holmes to senior Trevor Wilson in the midfield for 30 yards. Then, a lob from Holmes to the end zone was expertly snagged by Zambor to score EJ’s first touchdown of the season and bring the score to 18-9.

The Bucs responded with a TD of their own to make it 26-9 with three minutes until half.

The Rivals returned with another touchdown through the air and tacked on a 2-point conversion to make it 17-26 with two minutes before the break.

Kingston snuck another TD over the Rivals and the teams entered the locker rooms for halftime with the Bucs ahead 34-17.

Senior defensive end Gerald Lindsey brought the momentum back for EJ after picking up a fumble and taking it 60 yards to the house and bringing the score to 34-23 with the Bucs up by two scores.

Unfortunately, those were the last points for the Rivals as Kingston’s passing ripped through the secondary and the Buccaneers scored two unanswered touchdowns.

Kingston finished on top with a 50-23 victory.

On his young squad’s performance, Haddenham said: “They are extremely young, we have 18 freshmen … as the season goes on, they’ll be able to contribute more.”

“With us seeing different opponents every week, they’ll learn how we do things,” the head coach said. “Things will click hopefully by next week”

EJ will hope to get their first victory this coming Friday, Sept. 9 as they face King’s High School (1-0) in Shoreline.

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