SPORTS: 1B football preview: Neah Bay chasing another title
By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News
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In 2011, the won the state title.
Last year, they lost to Liberty Christian on the last play of the game.
The core group that played such a big role on as sophomores and juniors are back for their senior season.
“One more big run,” Neah Bay head coach Tony McCaulley said.
Despite their championship resume, those seniors and their teammates are more focused on the championships they didn't win.
The Red Devils' boys basketball team also lost in the 1B state championship game earlier this year.
“That hasn't sat well with them,” McCaulley said.
“You hear it all the time at practice: 'We're the first losers.'
“It really, really bothers them. This group doesn't like second place.”
After calling what the Neah Bay boys accomplished last year an “outstanding season,” McCaulley acknowledges that the bad taste in their mouths isn't such a bad thing.
“It's nice for a coach,” McCaulley said with a laugh.
“They're real hungry.”
Highlighting the returning players is quarterback Josiah Greene, the 1B Player of the Year in 2011 and the All-Peninsula Offensive MVP in 2012.
“He's looking good. He's bigger and faster,” McCaulley said.
During the summer, the Red Devils played 7-on-7 football with bigger schools such as Port Angeles and Sequim.
“He was one of the better quarterbacks, I thought,” McCaulley said.
Last year, Greene ran for 1,319 yards and passed for 1,901.
Other key returners are Tyler McCaulley, Zeke Greene, John Reamer and Cody Cummins.
Although the Red Devils lost a lot of speed with the graduations of Joey Monje and Leyton Doherty, Tony McCaulley said Neah Bay should have even more speed.
He expects Cole Svec to fill in the gaps previously filled by Monje and Doherty.
“Neah Bay is going to be flat scary this year,” Crescent coach Darrell Yount said.
The Red Devils have a tough schedule, beginning with an 11-man game against Darrington tonight at Oak Harbor High School, followed by a game next Friday in northeastern Washington against 2012 1B state semifinalist Cusick.
Neah Bay has will have only two home games this year, Oct. 4 against Lummi and Nov. 1 versus Clallam Bay.
The Bruins have a quarterback battle between Kelly Gregory and Kyle Keys, but who will run the ball has already been settled.
Matt Mohr and Calvin Ritter will get a bulk of the carries.
Mohr was second-team All-State at running back last season after rushing for over 1,900 yards.
Ritter didn't play running back until injuries forced him to the position late in the season, but he excelled.
“Everyone has worked hard all summer, especially those two,” Clallam Bay head coach Cal Ritter said.
The team's hard work is manifesting itself in the preseason.
“We're quite a ways ahead of where we were last year,” Cal Ritter said last week.
The coach said Mohr and Calvin Ritter will be running behind a solid line.
All this gives Cal Ritter high hopes for 2013, even though the Bruins have to face 1B powerhouses Neah Bay and Lummi.
“We hope to surprise some people,” he said.
“Neah Bay and Lummi are always great, but any given day, anybody can be beat.
“If we play together as a team, we'll make people take a second look at us.”
Clallam Bay's season kicks off with a road game with Wishkah Valley in Aberdeen on Saturday afternoon.
The Rangers fell one game short of the 1B state playoffs in 2012.
This year, they want more.
“We plan to make a run for it,” Quilcene head coach Nic Dahl said.
“Our goal is the [Tacoma] Dome, we say it every day in practice.”
Such lofty goals can be made with a quarterback like senior Jacob Pleines.
Although the Rangers will continue to employ their multitude of offensive formations (“We've added two more,” Dahl said.) out of which they will run and pass, the coach and quarterback have set a goal of 3,000 passing yards for Pleines.
Besides Pleines, other key contributors returning are Josh King (running back/linebacker), J.J. Smith (tailback) and lineman James Hanson.
Tristan Williams, who has played quarterback for Dahl for years in the Chimacum little league system, will move to the offensive line this season.
“He'll make the line calls. He's like a quarterback on the line,” Dahl said.
“It's exciting that a kid who has played quarterback is willing to go down and do that for the team.”
One of the key additions is new assistant coach Byron Wilson, who Dahl said has 40 years of experience coaching in Alaska.
Dahl said he and previous assistant Mike Dowling, who is now an assistant at Chimacum, were essentially the same coach.
Wilson, meanwhile, is an offensive line and defensive coach.
Dahl said Wilson's presence will make the Rangers a much better defensive team than they've previously been.
Quilcene opens its season Saturday afternoon at Crescent.
The Loggers are replacing most of the starters on last year's team and will have low numbers to start the season, but Yount is still optimistic about his squad.
“It's a brand new product,” Yount said.
“We could go through some growing pains early in the season, but we expect the kids to pick it up quickly. I think we'll get there.
“We're excited about [this team] as a staff. It's been great to work with these kids.”
The “brand new product” will be quarterbacked by Quenton Wolfer, who throws the javelin for the Loggers' track team.
“He's got a whip of an arm,” Yount said.
“He can really throw.”
Tailback Travis Walker, who reminds Yount of the player he is replacing.
“He's a carbon copy of Eric Larson,” Yount said.
“He's small, muscular, and it never hurts to be really fast.”
Walker will be joined in the backfield by another athlete, Quinn'Tin March, one of the best hurdlers in the 1B classification.
With these athletes and the size of the Loggers' line (Wyatt McNeese, Ian Sowders and Collin West), Yount expects Crescent will be more of a running team this year.
But Wolfer will have some pass-catching options as well in wide receiver Zach Fletcher and tight end Neil Peppard.
The Loggers host Quilcene on Saturday afternoon.
Last modified: September 05. 2013 6:50PM