PREP FOOTBALL: Neah Bay expects success to continue
David Willoughby/for Peninsula Daily News
Neah Bay’s Cole Svec (16) runs the ball against Touchet during the 1B state championship game at the Tacoma Dome. Svec, a freshman starter at cornerback, had four carries for 57 yards, including a 44-yard run to set up a touchdown, during the fourth quarter of the title game.
The Associated Press
Neah Bay’s Tyler McCaulley (32) dives across the goal line for a touchdown during the second half of the Red Devils’ 36-18 win in the class 1B state title game last week. McCaulley is one of the departing seniors who have helped establish Neah Bay as a state powerhouse.
By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News
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Not his — that came a few minutes later — but that of the Red Devils football program.
“Hopefully, we set the standards high for everyone else,” Greene said during the postgame celebration after Neah Bay beat Touchet 36-18 at the Tacoma Dome.
“Hopefully, they want to be better than us.”
Many of Neah Bay's seniors have been major contributors since they were eighth graders.
During that time, the Red Devils have won two 1B state titles, appeared in three straight state championship games and advanced to the state semifinals all five years.
It will be a tall, if not impossible, task to surpass what Josiah Greene, Tyler McCaulley, Cody Cummins, Ezekiel Greene, Bill Hanson, Carl Mack, Mitchell McGee and the other Neah Bay seniors have accomplished.
But the Red Devils might have enough to keep the program rolling.
“It's the end of a really, really good group of kids,” Neah Bay coach Tony McCaulley said of the senior class having played its last football game.
“But, you know, we'll rebound and play well next year, I'm sure. I've got a lot of good kids coming back.
The seniors have established a blueprint for state championships.
Many players who will be back next season are already following it.
“The work ethic, for the seniors, that's the big thing that they've passed on,” Tony McCaulley said.
“And, you know, it's going to help our program down the road.
“I wouldn't be a bit surprised if we couldn't make it back, you know, and make a deep run next year with the guys that we've got [returning in 2014].”
Ezekiel Greene places the onus squarely on the shoulders of junior John Reamer.
“I believe John Reamer, [as a] senior next year, is going to step it up,” Ezekiel Greene said.
“He's going to ask everybody to be in the weight room. He's a good motivator.
“It's up to him.”
Said Reamer, who earned a Northwest Football League All-North Division nod as a defensive lineman this season, realizes the expectations of him in 2014. And he isn't shying away from them.
“Yeah, I've heard that a lot. I'm up to it,” Reamer said.
“I mean, I've tried to build myself up as a leader over these years already. I'm trying to get everybody in the weight room. I'll work them out, I'll give them rides and everything.”
Reamer also realizes that he'll have plenty of help next year.
“I'm ready for it, but there's a lot of young talent on this team, too,” he said.
“Some of my classmates, juniors, are ready to step it up next year, and we're going to be back here [at the Tacoma Dome].
“All these juniors, we're ready to play. The sophomores are ready to play. It's just we have too much senior talent in front of [the juniors and sophomores].
“These kids are ready and they're hungry, too, so we're going to be good next year.”
Along with Reamer, other key returners for the Red Devils will be running back Collin Haupt (970 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns), starting defensive backs Cole Svec and Cameron Buzzell, All-North Division special teamer Josh Monette and Elisha Winck, who played a valuable role filling for injured teammates on both sides of the ball.
Among those who produced in limited playing time this season is Christopher Martinez, who rushed for 302 yards (7.7 per-carry average) and four touchdowns.
Tony McCaulley said Reamer's job is to keep doing what he has done, and some of those other will need to take on a bigger leadership role.
“It is up to John somewhat, and John's already taken that role, he is one of our captains,” McCaulley said.
“But I think it's really up to Cole [Svec] and Cameron [Buzzell] and Elisha Winck, and guys like that to come up and really grasp this and get the younger guys below them into this program, because they're already into it.
“They're already into what the [seniors] did, but it's that freshman group, that eighth-grade group that need the lift, and those guys need to do it.”
Tony McCaulley doesn't expect any of the returning players to step up and be the next Josiah Greene or Tyler McCaulley or Cody Cummins or Ezekiel Greene.
“[That's] pretty much impossible,” Tony McCaulley said.
“We'll probably have to change our game somewhat. You know, our power-run was set for this team. This team could to it, and do it well. When Titus Pascua was here, we could do it and we could do it well.
“Can we do it next year? Maybe. Can we change? Yes, we can change. Do we have to go with a different — you know, do we have to spread it and throw it? Maybe. We don't know yet; we'll figure that out next summer.”
Whoever plays and whatever system Neah Bay runs, the Red Devils should still be a major player in the western Washington 8-man football scene in 2014, if not the favorites, especially with Lummi possibly moving up to class 2B when the WIAA enrollment figures are sorted out.
As for the departing seniors, Josiah Greene isn't ruling them being done succeeding together, either.
“We're family. I love all these guys,” he said.
“Hopefully, we all go to the next level together or something.”
Sports Editor Lee Horton can be reached at 360-417-3525 or at email@example.com.
Last modified: December 10. 2013 6:37PM