Turks’ first trip to playoffs since ’86 a success


Herald Writer

POULSBO – Today, the town of Sultan will say a hearty thank you to Bryan Nelson.

Nelson helped Sultan to a 27-14 victory Tuesday in a Class 2A Bi-District game against Port Townsend at North Kitsap High School.

It was the first time Sultan had been to the playoffs since 1986, and now the Turks will play Othello (8-1) Saturday in the first round of the playoffs.

The drama all began to unfold at the end of the third quarter.

A scoreless third quarter ended with Sultan getting stopped just outside the Redskin 20 on fourth down. A penalty call played a part in the possession when the Turks were called for clipping.

But that wasn’t the only break for Sultan.

After a Sultan turnover on downs, Mike Andriessen recovered a fumble on the Port Townsend 43.

Three plays later, Eric Solberg plunged over the pile of defenders for a 1-yard touchdown run, putting the Turks up 14-6 with 5:41 remaining.

And with the way Sultan had been playing defense, the game looked to be out of reach for Port Townsend.

“I was happy with our defense,” first-year Sultan coach Jim MacDicken said. “Offensively we made some mistakes, but they made the plays.”

The drama continued through the fourth quarter.

The Sultan defense’s biggest test came with 2:33 left. After a Sultan punt, the Redskins took over on their own 43. An offsides call and a personal foul helped put the Redskins on the Sultan 17 with 1:15 left.

Kolby Riely took the ball on the next play for a 17-yard touchdown run, cutting the lead to 14-12. Riely led the Redskins with 117 yards rushing on 20 carries.

A quarterback option was pitched to Riely and he scooted into the end zone for the 2-point conversion.

Tie game, 14-14.

Then came Nelson’s 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

Sultan led, 20-14.

Then David Gasdaska made sure Riely could do no more damage when he intercepted Parker on Port Townsend’s ensuing drive and ran it back 45 yards for a touchdown.

Final – Sultan 27, Port Townsend 14.

“I can’t say enough about David,” MacDicken said of his first-year football player.

With Sultan’s offense struggling in the first half, the defense picked up the slack.

“Towards the end of the season and this game, the defense has stepped it up,” Nelson said.

Special teams and the defense accounted for three of the four Sultan touchdowns

The Turks forced Port Townsend to punt three times in the half. Nelson intercepted two passes.

Nelson’s interception of Port Townsend’s 2-point conversion helped the Turks’ to an 8-6 halftime lead. He also intercepted Redskin quarterback Aaron Parker just before the first half ended.

Penalties tipped up Sultan through the first half.

Fortunately, Sultan’s lone touchdown in the first quarter was enough for the halftime lead.

The Turks scored the first time they touched the ball.

Josh Grigg received Port Townsend’s opening-drive punt 70 yards up the left side for a touchdown, though it seemed Grigg would be tackled for a loss when he hesitated in which direction to choose.

Port Townsend’s Parker added a 1-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter.

Sultan-Grigg 70 punt return (Galle run)

Port Townsend-Parker 1 run (pass failed)Sultan-Solberg 1 run (run failed)

Sultan-Nelson 92 kickoff return (run failed)

Sultan-Gasdaska 45 interception return (Nelson kick)

Records-Sultan 7-4 overall. Port Townsend 6-4.

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