CHIMACUM — It’s a new season in Chimacum and the Cowboys are putting their opponents on notice that they’re going to be in for a fight every game.
Chimacum, being a small 1A school in an area without many 1A football programs (the Olympic League 1A Division is now down to Chimacum, Port Townsend and Klahowya after Coupeville left the league), must play bigger, private schools from the Seattle-Tacoma area (Bellevue Christian, Cascade Christian and Charles Wright) in the Nisqually League.
Incoming coach Chris Storm said the Cowboys aren’t worrying at this point of the season who are the toughest teams in the Olympic 1A-Nisqually League.
“We’re not trying to think too much about other teams. We’re a small 1A school and we have to play some powerhouse private schools. We’re letting them know it’s a new day,” Storm said.
“We’re looking pretty good. We’ve got good numbers and big kids. We have a ton of talented kids,” Storm said.
He said the Cowboys have 37 kids on the squad, more than in some recent years.
“We have a big freshman class, they’re almost a starting team in their own right,” Storm said. “We have multiple big linemen between 200 and 300 pounds.”
“We’ve gone after some kids,” he said. Storm is a longtime youth football coach in Chimacum who was an assistant for the Cowboys last year. Storm said he’s been around enough good coaches in the area to know what attracts kids to play football and what drives them away and has learned a lot of lessons about how to bring kids out to play.
“I’ve coached most of these kids since the sixth grade,” Storm said. About the only kids he hasn’t coached are those incoming freshmen. “We have some tough kids. We’re going to push the ball down the field.”
Some of the big returning players are senior receiver Issac Purser and big lineman (6-foot-6 and 285 pounds) Jacob Williamson and running back Logan Storm. Aaron Serrato, a middle linebacker, is returning as a senior and will be a big part of the defense. Kyle Caldwell, an outstanding wrestler for Chimacum/Port Townsend, is “much bigger and stronger,” Storm said.
At quarterback, Storm said that there’s going to be a competition between incumbent senior Cole Dotson and sophomore Wyatt Pennington. Dotson has been a starter for a couple of years, but Storm said Pennington has put in a huge amount of work during the offseason.
“In 7 on 7, he produced some wins against big schools,” Storm said.
Some other newcomers that fans should keep an eye are Anson Jones, a running back. “He’ll be a starting back next year. He’s very tough,” Storm said. Clayton Smith and Nathan Nisbet are another pair of newcomers.
“Nisbet’s been relentless in the weight room. He’s grasped ahold of what we’re trying to be,” Storm said.
Ben Preston is another kid to keep an eye on, Storm said. Preston is a little smallish for a defensive lineman at 180 pounds, but had to fill in when the team’s numbers were light.‘“We’re taking him off the line. He’s going to reap the rewards of sacrificing for the team,” Storm said.
Chimacum had a nice bounceback season last year. After going 0-10 in 2016, the Cowboys improved to 4-6 last season with wins over Neah Bay, Coupeville, South Whidbey and Klahowya.
Storm said one thing he would like to change is the attitude of the defense.
“We did pretty well on the defensive side early. [But] we were a first-half team. We need to be a four-quarter team. It’s going to be a different defense this year,” Storm said.
“We’re looking at imposing our will on defense,” he said.
Storm said in addition to the big turnout, the Cowboys have a bigger coaching staff. Previous head coach Mike Dowling is remaining on the staff as an offensive coordinator.
“I have a lot of respect for [Dowling],” Storm said. “I’m more of a culture coach. He’s more a strategy coach.”
For now, Storm said the Cowboys are looking at week one of the season, a nonleague game August 31 against Cedar Park Christian.
“We’re not looking at anything after week one. As a coach, you don’t want to get too far ahead of yourselves and end up losing games while you’re getting there,” Storm said.
• Head Coach: Chris Storm, first year
• Last Year: 4-6, sixth in Olympic 1A/Nisqually League
• Contributors: Logan Storm, RB; Issac Purser, WR; Jacob Williamson, OL, DL; Cole Dotson, QB; Wyatt Pennington, QB.
• Expected team strength: Big turnout, size
• Question mark: Tough schedule against private Nisqually schools