MATT SCHUBERT’S PREP NOTEBOOK: A lineman worth watching

I’M NOT GOING to lie.

I don’t spend a lot of my time watching offensive linemen whenever I take in a high school football game.

About the only time I do notice them is when they make a mistake.

I’d estimate that makes me like 95 percent of the football-viewing public.

So just like me, a whole lot of fans missed out on the most compelling duel in Friday night’s North Mason-Sequim game in Belfair.

That was the matchup between Sequim’s Thomas Gallagher and North Mason’s John Fullington.

The two behemoths — Gallagher stands at 6-foot-5, 310 pounds and Fullington at 6-6, 275 — will both play at the college level next fall.

And with each going both ways on offense and defense, they were lined up in front of each other all night.

“It was a great experience,” said Gallagher, who’s gone up against Fullington three years in a row as Sequim’s starting left tackle. “It was a great matchup between us.

“It definitely gave me motivation throughout the week because he was ranked ahead of me in the state for [college] recruits.

Fullington had been a tight end for North Mason since he was a freshmen. Yet after accepting a scholarship offer from Washington State last February to play offensive line he was moved to tackle by Bulldogs coach Phil Pugh this fall.

Gallagher got the better of him a few times at defensive tackle on Friday night, recovering two fumbles and registering a sack. But Fullington had his moments as well.

“It was different this year because it felt like it was more evenly matched between us,” Gallagher said.

“It just felt like there was a mutual acceptance between the two of us that we are both really good players, and we just battled it out all night.

“It was a really good test. I hadn’t gone up against a whole bunch of D-I guys in pads before, so I wanted to see where I was at.”

From the looks of things, Gallagher is in a pretty good place.

His Wolves out-gained the Bulldogs 301 yards to 196 on the way to a 28-13 victory at the mud patch that was North Mason’s football field.

That included a 170-123 edge on the ground.

Some help

Of course, Gallagher did have the benefit of being part of a unit that returned four of five starters from last year up front.

That includes guards Jake Dethlefsen and Ryan Woods and right tackle Roman Turner.

“The line did an incredible job just making holes for our backs,” said Wolves runner Isaac Yamamoto, who had 94 yards of offense on the night.

Gallagher has yet to decide on a school next fall despite receiving interest from a number colleges.

Among those on the list are Boston College, UCLA, Idaho, Oregon, Florida State, Harvard and Princeton.

The latter has already offered him a scholarship, while he has received “vocal” messages from other schools that a scholarship is on the table.

Sequim head coach Erik Wiker, for one, has no problem seeing Gallagher as a contributor at the next level.

“I know I’m biased, but I definitely think he’s a better o-lineman than Fullington is,” said Wiker, who was a scholarship lineman at the University of Idaho. “He blocks people longer, he’s been doing it longer, he’s bigger and stronger and he’s got the technique down.

“I definitely think he was the better lineman tonight too.”

Three-way race

Port Townsend, Chimacum and Vashon Island find themselves locked in a three-way race for the Class 1A Nisqually League’s final playoff spot.

Don’t be fooled by the Pirates’ 3-1 league record.

With games at powerhouses Orting and Cascade Christian still on the schedule, they will likely come back to the pack.

So if Port Townsend can win out, it will likely get the league’s third and final playoff spot.

Of course, standing in the way is archrival Chimacum, which “hosts” Port Townsend in two weeks.

A Chimacum win there, combined with some Vashon road losses, could set this thing up for a three-way tie.

And we all know what that means: The dreaded Kansas City tie-breaker to be played on the following Tuesday.

Stay tuned.

More playoffs

Port Angeles was officially eliminated from playoff contention with its loss to Olympic on Friday.

That means the Roughriders will miss the postseason for the third straight season and first under new head coach Dick Abrams.

The Riders can still salvage the season with a strong finish.

Bremerton comes to Civic Field next Friday for the Riders’ homecoming game.

The Knights have lost 45-straight league games, and Port Angeles surely doesn’t want that streak to end on its watch.

________

Matt Schubert is the outdoors and sports columnist for the Peninsula Daily News. His column regularly appears on Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at [email protected]

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