Knights conquer Eagles in KingCo 4A showdown

The Newport Knights football squad found themselves trailing by a touchdown after the first play of the game against the Issaquah Eagles in a battle between KingCo 4A programs.

Issaquah senior Devin Piquet returned the opening kickoff 98 yards for a score, giving his team a 7-0 lead with 11:45 left in the first quarter.

Newport wasn’t fazed by Issaquah’s strike on the first play of the game. The Knights outscored the Eagles 30-7 in the final 47 minutes, 45 seconds of regulation en route to a 30-14 win on Sept. 15 at Newport High School in Factoria.

The Knights improved their overall record to 2-1 with the win. Issaquah dropped to 1-2 with the loss.

The night belonged to the Knights offensive line. Newport consistently put together lengthy drives with a potent rushing attack, which the Eagles had trouble slowing down while the Newport defense surrendered just seven points.

Cyrus Nimmo, who scored on a 12-yard touchdown run with 3:51 remaining in regulation giving his team a 23-14 lead, said the plan was to keep the ball on the ground for the majority of the night against the Eagles.

“We had a game plan, which was to just come out and pound the rock,” Nimmo said. “This is Newport’s identity. It was a very good team win tonight.”

Newport quarterback Brandon Steinberg scored on a 15-yard touchdown run with just three seconds left in the first half, cutting Issaquah’s lead to 14-13. Steinberg also hooked up with tight end Marcus Fukutomi on an 11-yard touchdown pass with 7:36 left in the first quarter. The Knights final touchdown of the night came on Roman Morrison’s 2-yard touchdown run with 46 seconds left in the game. Newport kicker Austin Hahnemann, who is one of the top kickers in the KingCo 4A Conference, nailed a 43-yard field goal in the third quarter.

“That is the kind of football we like to play,” Newport head coach Drew Oliver said of his team’s gritty performance. “The drive we had with eight minutes to go was key (drive culminated with Nimmo touchdown with 3:51 remaining to seal the win). Finishing it off with a touchdown was huge.”

Newport offensive lineman Charlie Baumann said winning the way the Knights did with ball control and a strong rushing attack was a fantastic feeling.

“This is our offense. We just grind it and punch it right down their throats. That’s our style. It was a rough start at the beginning. We kept going, we got the momentum and we just couldn’t be stopped.”

Issaquah head coach Buddy Bland believes his team has plenty of room for improvement following the loss to Newport.

“First off, we got to make sure we get our opponent (Newport offense) off the field,” Bland said. “Once you get your opponent off the field, you have a chance to get it going offensively. We’ve got to learn some lessons from this game. Right now, we’re just going to roll up our sleeves and continue to battle back. There is not any quit on this team.”

Issaquah’s second and final touchdown of the night was scored by Issaquah quarterback Trevor Morine on a 1-yard touchdown run with 2:37 left in the second quarter.

“Trevor is a really good player and he is going to continue to make plays,” Bland said. “He is also young and this is the first time that he’s been in this role. He is making progress.”

Newport will face the Eastlake Wolves in a KingCo 4A contest at 7 p.m. on Sept. 22 at Eastlake High School in Sammamish.

“We’re really excited,” Baumann said. “We’re going to take it to them. We’re more than excited to compete against them.”

Oliver has respect for the Wolves’ football program.

“Eastlake has a great offense, a great defense and is a well-coached team,” he said. “We’ll be ready for them next week.”