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Peninsula Daily News
CHIMACUM — Lack of playing time was never an issue during Daryl Settlemire’s four years with the Chimacum football team.
With between only 15 and 20 players on the roster, the Cowboys don’t enjoy the luxury of having strength in numbers.
So, they have to build strength and stamina.
“[Head coach Shawn] Meacham kind of lays it out for us when we show up and we see our numbers,” Settlemire said of Chimacum’s preseason practices.
“And he makes us run and run and run so we’re able to go all four quarters.
“He calls it ‘Ironman football.’ ”
Settlemire, who has been selected as the All-Peninsula Football Defensive MVP, found a way to excel under these grueling conditions.
“When you put the helmet on him, when you put the shoulder pads on him, he’s a monster,” Meacham said.
“He decided to be the best at everything.”
And Settlemire had a chance to do almost everything.
He was an anchor of the offensive line that created holes for running back Mel Thornton, who led the Nisqually League rushing in 2012 with 1,277 yards.
Settlemire’s work on the offensive line earned him a spot on the All-Nisqually League Division 2 offensive first team.
Settlemire also became the Cowboys’ kickoff specialist.
His long kickoffs helped Chimacum win the field-position battle, and he was often one of the first people to the ball after he attempted onside kicks.
“It’s a pretty daunting task to field the ball with Daryl Settlemire running at you,” Meacham said.
But the defensive line is probably where Settlemire did his best work.
He finished with eight sacks and 82 tackles in 2012 and was named the Nisqually League Division 2 Defensive MVP and selected to The Associated Press 1A All-State first-team defense.
Settlemire was also named Nisqually League Defensive MVP after 2011, so this past season offenses were focused on preventing him from wreaking havoc in their backfields.
“Earlier last year, they didn’t know me,” Settlemire said of 2011.
“But this year, they ran away from me.”
Despite this increased attention, Meacham said Settlemire was able to maintain the statistics he achieved the season before.
“He’s the player he is half because of his work ethic, and half because of his will,” Meacham said.
“He has a pretty strong will, and he’s very strong.”
The physical strength came from the hours Settlemire spent in the weight room throughout his high school years. He gained 40 pounds of muscle in between his sophomore and junior seasons.
Settlemire said his willpower comes from his late father, who passed away in September 2011.
“My last words to him were that I was going to make him proud,” Settlemire said.
“That helps me find strength when I’m dead tired.”
Settlemire and his teammates needed that kind of inner strength when they went five overtimes with rival Port Townsend, a win that Settlemire called the highlight of his season and Meacham said was the best game he has ever been a part of as a coach.
Settlemire was heavily involved in the game-winning scores.
“Meacham looked to me and Mel, and said, ‘Let’s make this epic,’ ” Settlemire said.
On fourth and goal from the 12-yard line, Thornton found space along the left sideline thanks to the blocking of Settlemire to tie the score at 25.
On Derek Ajax’s two-point conversion that won the game, Settlemire was moved to the right, which is right where Ajax ran.
“When I saw the ball cross the [end zone] line, I jumped for joy,” Settlemire said. “It was amazing.”
Settlemire hopes to play college football at the Division 1 level, even if he has to walk on, but said he’ll go to the school that gives him the best offer.
Meacham now has to find a way to replace a decorated four-year, two-way starter who dominated the trenches.
“He’s going to be missed,” Meacham said.
“You don’t have many players like him at the high school level with a professional mentality.”