Renegades come up short in title game

BREMERTON, Wash. — The long journey to the Pacific Football League title game ended in disappointment for the Southern Oregon Renegades minor league football team on Saturday night.

The Renegades, who wrapped up the South Division title last Saturday with a 21-6 victory over the Springfield Buzzards, failed to stay with the Kitsap County Bears in the title game, losing 28-14 to end the season.

Southern Oregon struggled all game to mount an offensive attack, but managed a 7-all tie early in the second half when John Jones ran an interception back 27 yards for a score.

The Renegades then got a defensive stop and drove to the Bears 27 before their drive stalled and the Bears got a momentum-changing punt return from their own 7 to the Renegades 43.

Kitsap County scored on its next two drives and pulled ahead 28-7 late in the fourth quarter.

"It feels great to get here and get so close to winning," Jones said afterward. "We had it there to win, but it just didn't happen."

The Renegades finished the season 11-2.

Kitsap County, the Northern champion, finished 12-1.

The Bears chased Southern Oregon quarterback Nate Ellis across the field throughout the game and held him to seven completions in 24 attempts for 103 yards and three interceptions.

Ellis, a North Valley High graduate, threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Thomas Whiteaker in the fourth quarter, but that made the score 28-14 with 4:14 left. The Renegades, however, were unable to come up with the onside kick.

"They're a good defense, but not different than we've played against," fullback Alvin Thornton said of the Bears. "For some reason, we always just have trouble on offense, every game."

Defensive back Charlie Watkins had a pair of interceptions for the Bears.

Despite the offensive troubles, the Renegades, who left Medford at 4 a.m. to drive North, had the score tied and momentum on their side when their drive stalled in the third quarter and they punted. Kitsap returner Drew Jenkins fielded the ball inside the 10, escaped a couple tacklers, then found room and nearly broke free for a touchdown.

With the momentum of that return, quarterback Ken Jackson drove the Bears to the go-ahead score with 9:12 left in the third quarter on a 9-yard pass to Jose Moreno.

Jackson, who entered early in the second quarter, drove the Bears to two more scores, one on a 9-yard run by Nathan Proctor early in the fourth quarter and the other on a 27-yard pass to Willie Edwards with 5:34 left in the game.

Jackson finished 7 of 12 for 103 yards three touchdowns.

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