PREP FOOTBALL: Neah Bay getting ready to face rival Lummi
Lonnie Archibald/for Peninsula Daily News
Neah Bay quarterback Josiah Green hands off to Collin Haupt at the start of what turned out to be a 70-yard run against Clallam Bay last month. Also in on the play are Carl Mack (39) and Bill Hanson (30).
By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News
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It should be a hard-hitting, hard-fought game between the first- and third-ranked 1B teams in what has become one of the state's top 8-man football rivalries.
This time, though, Neah Bay coach Tony McCaulley isn't so certain about the details of Friday's game.
For starters, Lummi comes into the game as a bit of a mystery.
McCaulley has film of only one of the Blackhawks' games this year — against La Conner, a solid 2B school that typically plays 11-man football.
The game, won by La Conner 36-28, was played with eight players. But the Braves were out of their element, so McCaulley said it's hard to glean anything from the game because Lummi had no way of being fully prepared for it.
Another thing that makes preparing for the Blackhawks difficult is not knowing who they will start at quarterback.
Starter Logan Toby has been sidelined the last few weeks with a strained neck. Enter wide receiver Austin Brockie, who taken over and led Lummi to blowout wins over Taholah (57-16) and Evergreen Lutheran (67-6).
Against the Eagles, Brockie threw for 250 yards and six touchdowns.
“Austin Brockie is a great athlete,” McCaulley said this week.
“He's as good as their staring QB [Toby], I think.”
One thing McCaulley does know is that the Blackhawks will be ready, and they'll be tough.
“It's going to be a good game,” McCaulley said.
“Jim [Sandusky] is one of the best coaches around; we know they will be prepared.
“It's the start of league [play], and we're going to be tested right off the bat.”
McCaulley said his team had its best practice of the season on Monday, so Neah Bay should be ready Friday as well.
However, the Red Devils are a bit of a mystery themselves.
They have yet to be at full strength in their three games this season, as starters Cody Cummins and Tyler McCaulley have both missed a few games.
Neah Bay has been dominant without them, with young players such as Collin Haupt, Chris Martinez and Cole Svec stepping in and making big contributions.
“I think we might be deeper this year [than in 2012],” McCaulley said.
“We have some young kids playing pretty darn good.”
But, the Red Devils are still a veteran team, and the players who have been the core of two straight trips to the 1B state title game have improved.
Quarterback Josiah Green, the 2011 1B player of the year and the 2012 All-Peninsula Offensive MVP, is “bigger, stronger and faster,” and throwing the ball even better.
And since losing to Liberty Christian on the final play of last year's championship game, McCaulley said many of his players have been spending a lot of time bulking up in the weight room.
Junior lineman John Reamer has especially transformed his body.
“John Reamer is not even the same player,” McCaulley said. “I mean, he doesn't even look the same.”
But added size and speed likely won't be the most important factor in Friday's showdown.
Last year, Neah Bay beat Lummi both times the 8-man powerhouses met, including in the 1B semifinals at the Tacoma Dome.
Both times, the Red Devils took care of the ball.
“That's been the key to beating them, the turnover battle,” McCaulley said.
Friday's game will be Neah Bay's first home game of the season. It's only other scheduled home game this season is against Clallam Bay next month.
As is common when Lummi travels to Neah Bay, McCaulley said the start time has been moved up from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m., to help Lummi make it back to Bellingham.
Watch Port Angeles game online
Port Angeles' game against Klahowya on Friday night will be broadcast live with video and play-by-play at www.ispnsports.com.
ISPN Sports will replay the game at 11 p.m. Friday night and throughout the week.
The game kicks off at 7:15 p.m.
Sports Editor Lee Horton can be reached at 360-417-3525 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: October 02. 2013 6:28PM