By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News
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FORKS — The Forks Spartans football team faces a tough task in the reshuffled Class 1A Evergreen League this season.
The Spartans went 4-5 and just missed out on a 1A playoff berth last season, and will face two new opponents this season in Eatonville and Aberdeen.
The two new teams will replace Rainier, which dropped down to 2B.
Eatonville, a traditional playoff power at various classifications, is moving over from the Nisqually League.
Aberdeen, along with Forks' longtime league foe Rochester, are 2A teams that will play a 1A regular season in an attempt to make the 2A playoffs.
“They don't affect us in that regard [making the 1A playoffs] but Eatonville and Aberdeen will make the league tougher,” Spartans coach Mark Feasel said.
Forks will have to find some replacements for a solid group of linemen that graduated in June.
“We've got one starting lineman coming back from last year, so the younger kids are going to have to step up huge for us,” Feasel said.
“At camp they did a great job, and I think they have the talent and ability to step up and give us some good football.”
The Spartans made their yearly trip to Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore., for team camp.
Feasel said the camp draws teams from the Portland metro area, and from across the state.
“We were the smallest school and smallest team with 18 players out of 900 that attend, but we were solid,” Feasel said.
“We won the team competition [evening activities like a five-man high jump, sumo wrestling that work to build camaraderie between teammates] for the third straight year.”
Five Forks players were named to the All-Camp team including senior running back/middle linebacker Dmitri Sampson, senior fullback/guard/nose tackle Miguel Morales, junior tight end/defensive end Reece Moody, sophomore guard/fullback Jack Dahlgren and freshman Cole Baysinger who is set to play some quarterback and defensive back this fall.
Feasel said returning starting quarterback senior Javier Contreras likely would have been named to the All-Camp team if he had played at defensive back.
“Javier was a first-team all-league defensive back last season, but at camp he worked on his quarterback skills the entire time, which I really appreciated,” Feasel said.
Contreras, a state wrestler and starting pitcher for the Forks baseball team, earned high praise from Feasel.
“He's best all-around athlete on the team, the fastest kid on the team and has tremendous hand-eye coordination,” Feasel said.
Feasel described Sampson as a power runner, never shy to make contact with an opposing tackler.
“He's tough to haul down and it usually takes two to three tacklers,” Feasel said.
Morales, a state-placing wrestler for Forks, is a versatile athlete for the Spartans.
“He'll be a fullback and play some offensive line for us depending on our set,” Feasel said.
“Last year he played linebacker but we are going to stick him in there at the nose tackle spot this season.”
Feasel likes what he has seen of Dahlgren, and has plans for him to swap spots with Morales at times.
“He pencils in as a starter at guard, but we will probably swap him and Morales in and out at fullback and on the line,” Feasel said.
Another Spartan to watch include sophomore wideout/defensive back Keishaun Ramsey.
“He has great hands and is a real aggressive receiver,” Feasel said.
With a bye on the opening weekend of football season, Forks will have ample practice time to prepare for its first game, at Chimacum on Sept. 12.
Two-a-day practices begin Wednesday, Aug. 20, with the Spartans drilling from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. for the first five days of camp.
Sports reporter Michael Carman can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5152 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Editor's note: Updated to fix Eatonville's information and to remove Toledo, which was not a member of the Evergreen 1A League.]
Previous camp previews
Neah Bay: http://tinyurl.com/NeahBayCamp