SPORTS: Quilcene and Crescent preparing for opening week football matchup
By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News
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This is the second year in a row that the two North Olympic Peninsula 1B football teams are facing off in the season opener.
In 2012, the shorthanded Rangers hung with the talented, senior-heavy Loggers, before falling 36-34.
This year, Quilcene is the experienced team loaded with talent, while Crescent is young and inexperienced.
Here are the camp reports for the Rangers and Loggers:
Despite beginning the season with a loss to Crescent, the Rangers made the postseason last season after winning the Northwest Football League South Division title.
This year, they begin the season as one of the most experienced and established rosters on the Peninsula, along with Port Townsend and Neah Bay.
They lost seven seniors last year, but return most of the core of last year’s postseason team.
Because of injuries to last year’s seniors, many younger players received valuable playing time.
“We kept our nucleus,” Quilcene head coach Nic Dahl told the Peninsula Daily News on Tuesday.
Headlining the returners is quarterback Jacob Pleines, running backs Josh King and J.J. Smith, and center/nose guard James Hanson.
“He’s a beast,” Dahl said of Hanson “It takes two guys to move him in practice.
“He’s smart, but he’s quick, too.”
Dahl said Hanson improved his speed, and now runs about a 5.5-second 40-meter dash, an improvement of more than one second from 2012.
In fact, the Rangers will be a faster team overall this season.
Dahl said last year’s team had maybe one player who run a sub-5-second 40-meter dash, but this year’s team has six.
Unlike Quilcene, the Loggers have a lot of holes to fill.
Gone are All-Peninsula honorees Derrick Findley, Mike Zapien and Gene Peppard, as well as All-Northwest Football League second-team running back Eric Larson and quarterback Beau Bamer.
In fact, head coach Darrell Yount said only one full-time starter returns from last year’s 7-3 team, lineman Ian Sowders.
Each of the skill positions will be filled by a new body in 2013.
Quenton Wolfer will play quarterback, while Travis Walker and Quin’Tin March are the new running backs and Zach Fletcher will play wide receiver.
Freshman Neil Peppard, who saw action on the offensive line as an 8th grader, will play tight end.
The defensive side of the ball has more returning experience, with three full-time starters — defensive end Collin West and outside linebackers Walker and Wolfer — and March, who started a few games at defensive back.
The number of players eligible likely will be a factor early on for Crescent.
Yount said the Loggers could be limited to 12-13 players for Saturday’s game, but he expects the roster will eventually grow to about 20 players.
Sports reporter/outdoors columnist Lee Horton can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5152 or at email@example.com.
Last modified: September 03. 2013 6:37PM