By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News
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CLALLAM BAY — Clallam Bay, the sixth-smallest school in the 1B classification, may not have a big team this season.
Coach Cal Ritter expects to see a dozen players turn out for the beginning of 8-man football practices Wednesday.
The Bruins may not have much size, with only one player, sophomore lineman Justin Messinger weighing in at at least 200 pounds.
They will miss a now-graduated six-man senior class, a large group for a high school with a WIAA enrollment number of 35.4 students.
That graduated group included running back Matt Mohr and fullback Calvin Ritter, the bulk of the Bruins' offense last year.
But what Clallam Bay does have, especially with the loss of those six players, is ample opportunity.
“We are pretty much starting over,” Cal Ritter said.
“We have a lot of open positions, but the group of guys we do have are eager to play.”
Bruins players showed some of that eagerness by participating in 7-on-7 games this summer against area teams in Port Angeles.
“We came in for some games and that was real helpful for us,” Ritter said.
Clallam Bay does return some large puzzle pieces in returning starter senior Kelly Gregory at quarterback and running back Casey Randall.
“Gregory is a good all-around athlete,” Ritter said.
“I like his presence as a leader. He knows the game real well and has a good sense about him and makes good decisions on the field.”
Randall is a shifty runner, able to find small spaces in the defense and use his speed to bust big gains.
“Randall is a real fast kid, and if we can keep him healthy and on the field it will be big for us,” Ritter said.
Ritter is hoping Randall and Gregory will fill the leadership void created with the loss of the big senior class.
“Matt and Calvin were excellent leaders on and off the field,” Ritter said.
“Replacing them will be tough but I'm looking for Casey and Kelly to fill their shoes this season.”
Ritter also feels junior Martin Cummings will play an increased role this season.
“Martin Cummings played center for us last year, but with the openings we have we will probably move him to fullback,” Ritter said.
“He will do anything you need and is just tough as nails. He's a real coach's player.”
Heading into practice, Ritter is most concerned with filling out the offensive and defensive lines.
“The line without a doubt is what I'm focusing on,” Ritter said.
“With our lack of size, we're going to try and mix some things up this year and do some different stuff on both sides of the ball.”
On offense, Ritter hinted at some new looks and plays.
“Offensively, without going into specifics, we plan to change our formations up quite a bit and you'll probably see some things Clallam Bay may not have done in a long time, or maybe never, ever done,” Ritter said.
As for the defense?
“We might throw another linebacker in there or a defensive back instead of a lineman, but most likely we will keep it as simple as we can with the personnel we have,” Ritter said.
The Bruins will kick things off with a 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. practice on Wednesday, before switching to 6:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. practices for the two-a-day portion of the preseason.
Sports reporter Michael Carman can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5152 or at email@example.com.
Previous camp previews
Neah Bay: http://tinyurl.com/NeahBayCamp