SPORTS: Neah Bay’s Greene selected as All-Peninsula football MVP

By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News

Josiah Greene’s long hair might not make him a good football player, but it does serve as an example of what does makes the Neah Bay junior quarterback so good.

Stubborn competitiveness.

Greene and his older brother, Daniel, made a bet two years ago: $200 to the brother who can grow his hair longer.

The two had made a similar wager before, and Josiah Greene pocketed $100 after about six months.

“He wanted a rematch,” Greene said. “I’m going to go for the win again, though.”

That determination to win has also manifested itself on the football field.

In the last month’s 1B state championship game at the Tacoma Dome, Neah Bay trailed Liberty Christian 28-14 in early the third quarter when Greene led the Red Devils on a touchdown drive that was a battle of wills.

The Red Devils wanted to score as much as the Patriots’ defense wanted to prevent them from doing so.

Neah Bay was forced to use all four plays to get a first down and extend the drive, with Greene converting on multiple fourth-down plays himself.

More than 10 minutes after the drive began, Neah Bay finally reached the end zone on a 3-yard run by running back Cody Cummins with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Liberty Christian responded to the score by moving the ball downfield to the Red Devils’ 3-yard line.

Patriots quarterback Mike Olsen tried to score on a sneak, but Greene took the ball out of his hands to give Neah Bay the ball, trailing 28-20.

A few plays later, Greene scored on a 65-yard touchdown run. Cummins’ 2-point conversion tied the game, but Liberty Christian scored on a last-second play to win the state title.

“He’s super competitive, just totally hates to lose,” Neah Bay coach Tony McCaulley said.

“As a matter of fact, after the championship game I didn’t see him for about a week. Nobody did; he kind of disappeared off the map for a little while. It kind of bothered him a little.

“He’s really super competitive.”

Four weeks later, the loss was still eating at Greene.

“It was kind of a devastating ending [to the season],” Green said. “I still dream about it at night.

“I was hoping we’d have the same outcome that we had last year.”

After playing well at quarterback in the state semifinal game as an eighth grader, Greene took over for the position for good his freshman year.

Handing the reins over to such a young player was risky, but McCaulley had his reasons.

“The desire to win. He just had that leadership at a young age,” McCaulley said.

“He’s a quiet kid, but he’s not quiet with his teammates. He’s a good leader. He doesn’t say anything bad about his teammates, but he leads well.

“So, that’s one of the reasons that I went that way.”

Even older players have relied on Greene’s leadership.

Prior to the semifinal game against Neah Bay’s rival and nemesis Lummi, McCaulley had a conversation with senior running back Joey Monje.

“I asked [Monje] how he felt about the game,” McCaulley said. “He said, ‘Josiah won’t let us lose.’

“That’s pretty deep for a senior to say that.”

In that game, Lummi scored on a 74-yard touchdown pass on the third play of the game.

But any momentum the Blackhawks gained was soon lost when Greene scored on an 80-yard run on Neah Bay’s first play from scrimmage.

The Red Devils put up 32 straight points and held on to win the game 40-30.

In the game, Greene ran for a season-high 279 yards and three scores on 24 carries.

McCaulley had another reason for promoting Greene to starting quarterback as a freshman: “He can run.”

In 2012, Greene gained 1,319 yards on the ground and scored 19 rushing touchdowns.

Greene was the 2011 1B state player of the year after leading Neah Bay to the state title as a sophomore, but McCaulley told the Peninsula Daily News numerous times throughout the 2012 season that Greene was even better his junior year.

Especially passing the ball.

Greene completed 58 percent of his passes for 1,901 yards and 27 touchdowns, while only throwing three interceptions (and none since the third week of the season).

In the first game of the state playoffs against Mary M. Knight, he threw for 329 yards and five touchdowns. He had three other games with four touchdown passes.

“He’s getting better with his arm,” McCaulley said. “He’s always been a good runner, but his arm has come a long way the last couple of years.”

Greene was named the The Associated Press All-State First-Team Defense and Second-Team Offense in 2012.

He was also all-Northwest Football League first-first team offense and second-team defense in a season in which the Red Devils went 12-1.

But none of these statistics or honors were enough to be Greene’s answer to the question of what his proudest moment of the 2012 football season was.

“It was going to be the state championship,” Greene said.

Of course.

Last modified: January 22. 2013 6:17PM
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