Graham-Kapowsin High School’s football team’s first task toward its goal of a South Puget Sound League South Division title was to handle visiting Curtis.
Behind 176 rushing yards and three touchdowns from Teague James and a solid defensive performance, the No. 8 Eagles defeated Curtis, 24-14, Friday night at Art Crate Field.
Their next task: Take down No. 2 Federal Way next week.
“This feels so good right now,” said James. “This was one of the teams we knew we had to beat. Next we got Federal Way. That’s what could make it or break it for us.”
Curtis lost six of its past eight meetings with Graham-Kapowsin, including a 28-12 decision last year. Curtis finished third and the Eagles second in the SPSL South.
James’ left side of offensive line paved the way for him whenever Graham-Kapowsin got into scoring position. All three of James’ scores came when he ran to the side of Foster Sarell (a 6-foot-6, 300-pound freshman) and senior Duke Steenmeyer (6-2, 230) inside the 5.
“You gotta go behind your best in those situations,” Graham-Kapowsin coach Eric Kurle said.
Graham-Kapowsin (2-0) took a 10-0 lead in the second quarter on James’ first TD run. Curtis finally answered when quarterback Scott Wismer kept it on a read option and ran 36 yards into the end zone.
After another James TD before halftime, Curtis (1-1) cut the lead to 17-14 with a 10-yard run by sophomore Donnell Diego late in the third. But the Vikings recorded just two first downs the rest of the game and didn’t advance past their own 39.
“Graham-Kapowsin made more of their opportunities than we did,” said Curtis coach Clay Angle. “We had our chances, but just found ways not to take advantage.
“They are obviously a quality team, but we think we could have done better.”
Eagles quarterback Trevor Asbjorsen completed 12 of 22 passes for 200 yards.
James, who rushed for 1,329 yards and a league-high 24 touchdowns last year, said the offensive line is going to be key again next week when it hosts defending SPSL South champion Federal Way.
“That’s what’s going to make it or break it,” James said. “Hopefully we can kill them up front.”