Curtis holds off Puyallup in aerial battle

// Bellarmine Prep, Foss roll to shutouts

  • LEADING THE CHARGE. Curtis quarterback Scott Wismer (17) unleashes a pass as Puyallup’s D.J. Winter gives chase. (Photo by Rocky Ross)

  • Curtis running back Donnell Diego (5) stiff arms a Puyallup defender on his way to rushing for over 100 yards in the game. (Photo by Rocky Ross)

  • BRINGING PRESSURE. Bellermine Prep linebacker Nick Dionas tries to bring down South Kitsap quarterback Cooper Canton in the Lions' shutout victory. (Photo by Seamus O'Brien)

The second half between Curtis and Puyallup started to resemble basketball on turf. Led by veteran quarterbacks who were airing it out all night, the Vikings’ squads were charging downfield against each other nearly at will. But after storming back from an 11-point halftime deficit, Curtis struck for two touchdowns early in the third quarter and held off Puyallup for a 38-35 win at home on Sept. 27.

“It was like a track meet,” said Curtis head coach Clay Angle. “It was back and forth…all you do against Puyallup is try to slow them down enough to win. Down by 11 at halftime, our kids came back really strong.”

Puyallup established their quick pace from the start, as quarterback Brendan Illies – who finished 21-for-40 for 391 yards and five touchdowns – hit Levi Jordan for a six-yard touchdown to cap a 5-play, 66-yard drive less than a minute into the game. Curtis answered when Mason Mahoney hit a 38-yard field goal to cap a 10-play drive. Curtis moved deep into Puyallup territory early in the second quarter to try to take the lead, but couldn’t take advantage and turned the ball over on downs at the 20-yard line.

That’s when the quick-working Puyallup offense really got in gear, as Illies hit Karl Fjellstad for a 20-yard touchdown to make it 14-3 to cap a three-play, 80-yard drive. Curtis responded when Donnell Diego scored on an 11-yard run, but Puyallup scored again three plays later, as Illies hit Jordan on a 51-yard corner route for a score down the left sideline to make it 21-10 at the half.

“The first half they did some things, scouting-wise, that took away some of the things we have been doing,” Angle said. “So we had to identify what they were doing and make the adjustments.”

But Curtis flew out of the gates in the second half, as Wismer – who finished 15-for-23 for 310 yards and three touchdowns – hit a wide-open Jayson Williams on a play action for an 82-yard touchdown on the first play of the second half.

“It was in the game plan,” Wismer said of the play. “We knew the safeties were flying up on the toss. We just faked the toss and ran Jayson right past them. It was a great play.”

Curtis got the ball back five plays later when defensive lineman Odessa Mendoza intercepted a tipped pass at Puyallup’s 34-yard line, and Wismer later scored on an 11-yard run to take a 24-21 lead. The teams traded two more quick blows, as Illies hit D.J. Winter for a 31-yard touchdown less than a minute later, but Wismer hit Carter McKay for a 53-yard score to cap a five-play, 72-yard drive.

“I love playing (against) Brendan,” Wismer said. “I kind of look up to him even though he’s younger than me…he has a really good arm.”

Curtis’ defense forced four straight incompletions inside their own 20-yard line on Puyallup’s next drive to get the ball back, and Wismer later made it 38-28 with 6:50 left in the game when he hit McKay for a 17-yard touchdown. Puyallup cut it to 38-35 when Illies hit Jordan – who finished with 11 catches for 204 yards – for a 24-yard touchdown with 44 seconds left, but Curtis recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.

Williams had four catches for 121 yards for Curtis, while McKay finished with five catches for 108 yards and Diego had 20 carries for 112 yards.

By Jeremy Helling


Team identities usually take a while to form, but the current edition of Bellarmine Prep was formed a long time ago. With the move of tailback Lou Millie to quarterback, and a large portion of the offensive line returning, the Lions’ game plan was not going to be a secret to fans of both Bellarmine Prep and their opponents. Things would not differ in Port Orchard on Sept. 27, as the Lions rolled to a 31-0 win over South Kitsap to improve to 4-0 on the season and 2-0 in Narrows League play.

“Our boys came to play tonight, and they also reaped the benefits of a good week of practice,” said Bellarmine Prep head coach Tom Larsen.

The Lions tallied 307 rushing yards for the night, led by 185 yards from junior tailback Nate Goltermann and 110 yards from Millie.

Facing a 4th-and-1 from his own 39-yard line in the first quarter, South Kitsap coach Eric Canton took a huge gamble and went for it, but the Lions’ defense came up big to get the ball back. They wasted no time getting on the board, as Millie would find Drew Griffin for a 44-yard touchdown pass for a 7-0 lead. They added to the lead on the first drive of the second quarter as Matthew Phillichi connected on a 33-yard field goal with 8:08 left in the half.

The Wolves threatened late in the half, but came up just short on fourth-and-goal.

“Those two (fourth-down stops) gave us momentum that we carried over to the second half,” said Larsen.

The Lions launched a 10-play, 72-yard drive early in the third quarter, capped by a 15-yard touchdown run by Goltermann for a 17-0 lead. The game-clinching drive came early in the fourth quarter when the Lions went 78 yards in 12 plays to up the lead to 24-0 on Goltermann’s four-yard touchdown run. Goltermann had eight straight carries for 47 yards at one point on the drive.

“This was a total team effort,” said Bellarmine Prep center Matthew Hallis. “We just kept grinding the whole night long giving Nate and Lou room to run”

“It was a huge team effort,” echoed defender Michael Letts. “Both lines were outstanding tonight and had South (Kitsap) backpedaling.”

Bellarmine returns to action on Oct. 4 at Memorial Field when the Stadium Tigers visit for homecoming.

By Steve Mullen


Getting contributions from its offense, defense and special teams, Foss rolled to a 43-0 win over Mount Tahoma on Sept. 27 for its first league victory of the season.

The Falcons got on the board in the first quarter on a two-yard touchdown run by Malik Smith, who led Foss with nine carries for 62 yards. Devon Clark followed with a four-yard touchdown run, and Isaiah Littlejohn hit Mike Cocke’ for a 21-yard score in the second quarter to make it 21-0. Alonzo Jones later returned an interception 35 yards for a score, and Smith returned a punt 61 yards for a touchdown to give the Falcons a commanding 36-0 lead at the half. Littlejohn connected with Chris Reynolds for a 20-yard score in the third quarter to provide the final margin. The Falcons tallied 197 rushing yards in the game, as Keyon Lowery added seven carries for 61 yards.

By Jeremy Helling


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