By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News
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CHIMACUM — Chimacum football is full of question marks.
How will the new coaching staff help the Cowboys rebound from their one-win season in 2013?
Who will play quarterback?
What will the new helmets look like?
But the biggest, most important question is how many kids will show up?
For various reasons, Chimacum has struggled recently to field a team of even 20 players.
When hired earlier this year, new head coach Mike Dowling and his assistants went to work on drumming up interest in the program.
“We have been trying,” Dowling said. “The enthusiasm was great [in the spring]. I don't know what that will mean in the fall, though.”
The Cowboys had 40 to 45 players show up to spring and summer practices, with nearly 30 of those showing up to most of the sessions.
The offseason practices have been focused on implementing the new offensive and defensive schemes of coordinators Nic Dahl and Darren Dotson, respectively, so if that level of participation continues when practice begins Aug. 20 then the two weeks leading up to the season opener against Sequim will be more about perfecting the formations than starting from scratch.
Dowling said the Cowboys plan to use two quarterbacks, Quinn Dowling, the coach's son, and James Porter.
“We've got to guys; they can both play and they both will play,” Mike Dowling said, adding that when they aren't under center the two juniors will be used elsewhere on the offense.
The two quarterbacks were fixtures at the offseason practices, which is important because much will be expected of them in the new offense.
“We're going to take what the defense gives us,” Dahl said.
“We'll have two or three options. We'll always have a run play called and we'll always have a pass play called.”
After graduating only a handful of players last year, Chimacum has a fair amount of experience returning this season, including 2013 All-Peninsula defensive back Drew Yackulic and 2014 All-Peninsula lineman Trevon Noel
Yackulic will be used all over the field and Noel is expected to be more of a skill position player on offense.
That being said, the Cowboys have a lot of inexperience.
“We're young just about everywhere,” Mike Dowling said.
One of Chimacum's problems in past seasons has been players having to work through the summer, causing them to not participate in the required number of practices to play in the first game, and sometimes second as well.
Dowling hopes to work around the work schedules by holding practices later in the afternoon.
As for the new helmets, the design is still being decided, though Dowling did say that the base color will be blue.
Sports Editor Lee Horton can be reached at 360-417-3525 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.