BELLEVUE – If the first game if the season is a good indication of what lies ahead for the Capital Cougars, chances are they’ll do just fine as a Class 2A program this season.
Competing against the first of four Class 4A nonleague opponents Thursday night, Capital’s 29-22 victory over Newport came down to its final offensive play of the night.
Kai Van Sickle’s 20-yard touchdown was the winner in the victory over the Knights at Bill Green Stadium at Newport High School.
Tied at 22-all following a touchdown by Newport’s Brian Setijono with 5 minutes, 44 seconds to go in the fourth quarter, Capital used almost the entire remaining clock for its winning drive.
On a third-and-11 play from the 41 with 1:12 remaining, Tad Maiava’s 25-yard catch down the left sideline set up a first-and-10 at the 15.
Three plays later, Van Sickle rolled to the right and into the end zone with 16.1 seconds remaining for his third touchdown of the game.
Van Sickle finished with 141 yards on 27 carries in addition to the three TDs.
Up next is Olympia in the Spaghetti Bowl on Sept. 7, followed by Bothell and Bellarmine Prep in Week 5. Sandwiched in-between is Capital’s 2A Evergreen Conference opener Sept. 22 against Tumwater.
“We told them, ‘None of these 4A games are going to be easy,’ ” Capital coach J.D. Johnson said. “Tonight, I think we learned a good lesson.”
Capital’s defense came up with clutch plays in the second half. It forced Newport to punt on three drives and forced the Knights to turn the ball over on downs in the red zone after the home team had a first-and-10 at the 13 late in third quarter.
Newport, led by Nevada-bound quarterback Isaac Dotson, held a 215-178 advantage on total yards in the first half, but Capital lead 22-15 at halftime.
Leading 15-7, Capital’s Sam Hollingsworth picked up a fumble on a handoff in Newport’s triple-option offense and ran it back 54 yards to the Newport 4. The next play, Van Sickle ran it for his second score, pushing the Cougars’ lead to 22-7 with less than three minutes remaining before firstname.lastname@example.org www.theolympian.com/southsoundsports @megwochnick