Crescent’s Eric Emery returns as the Loggers’ starting quarterback this season. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula Daily News)

Crescent’s Eric Emery returns as the Loggers’ starting quarterback this season. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula Daily News)

PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Crescent Loggers will have a different look this year

JOYCE — The Crescent Loggers rode its workhorse running back/linebacker Noah Leonard all the way to the Class 1B State Tournament last season as Leonard piled up nearly 2,500 combined rushing and receiving yards to go with 44 touchdowns and 134 tackles defensively.

Those stats earned him an Associated Press Class 1B All-State selection. But Leonard has graduated, and the Loggers will need all hands on deck to replace that lost production.

Crescent head coach Brian Shimko thinks his squad is up to achieve his annual goal of advancing one game farther than the season before while competing hard.

“We will have a different look this year and it will be a different team without Noah,” Shimko said.

Work to that effect began during the spring and continued at team camp in Entiat with a handful of other 1B teams, including Quilcene, a Crescent opponent again this fall.

“When we first started out here [in 2015], we had the big boys: McCabe Story, Wyatt McNeece, Neil Peppard,” Shimko said. “And when they all graduated I took Noah aside and said we are going to feed you the ball and we did that for two years. Now that he’s gone, everybody else will get their turn.”

First up in the rotation: the Emery brothers — senior quarterback/outside linebacker Eric and sophomore running back/outside linebacker Brayden.

“The Emery boys are outstanding. They are going to step up,” Shimko said.

Eric Emery is a returning starter at quarterback and can do it all for the Loggers in the passing game, running with the ball and blocking. He previously played wide receiver and defensive back, so he can catch the ball as well.

Brayden is a smaller, shifty running back, but Shimko said he’s grown a bit and “is bigger and faster as a sophomore.”

“We are going to put the fast guys out on the end to cover the corner,” Shimko said of playing the Emerys at outside linebacker.

Sophomore Wyatt Lee also will play an important role as a running back and linebacker.

“I expect Wyatt Lee is going to step up,” Shimko said. “He started on offense, defense and special teams and never came off the field as a freshman.”

Freshman Brenton Dalton already has a year’s experience under his belt after starting as an eighth-grader last season.

Shimko said he’s likely to see time as a tight end or wide receiver on offense and as a safety defensively.

The Loggers have returners along the lines.

“We lost some big guys, so we are trying to be faster, quicker and stronger,” Shimko said.

Senior Tim Ward and juniors Darren Lee and Jimmy Bruch all have starting experience.

“Tim Ward is coming back after taking a year off,” Shimko said. “He started as a center his freshman and sophomore years and we had him at nose tackle.”

Shimko said sophomore Malachi Treadway is “an athletic kid,” who saw a lot of time defensively last year.

“He can chase down a broken play,” Shimko said. “He saved probably three TDs in the Lummi [playoff] game chasing people down.”

Crescent will face stiffer league competition this year in the Northwest Football League’s top division.

The Loggers won the Second Division last year and received a promotion to play against fellow state playoff teams Naselle, Lummi and Neah Bay along with Darrington.

CRESCENT LOGGERS

 Head coach: Brian Shimko

 Last year: 8-3, won Northwest Football League Second Division, advanced to Class 1B State Quarterfinals.

 Key contributors: QB/WR/LB Eric Emery, sr.; Brayden Emery RB/DE/TE, soph.; RB/LB Wyatt Lee, soph.; TE/WR/DB Brenten Dalton, Fr.

 Expected team strength: Quarterback Eric Emery returns as the experienced point man of an offense that will need to find its identity early.

 Question mark: The Loggers have had a workhorse running back leading their offense the last two seasons and must adjust.

 Game to watch: First game of the year at home against Neah Bay is a Northwest Football League contest. If Crescent wants to make a repeat trip to state, this is a big game for confidence purposes.

SCHEDULE

  • Sept. 7: Neah Bay, 2 p.m.
  • Sept. 14: at Quilcene, 1 p.m.
  • Sept 20: South Bend, 3 p.m.
  • Oct. 5: at Taholah, 1 p.m.
  • Oct. 12: Naselle, 3 p.m.
  • Oct. 19: Lummi, 2 p.m.
  • Oct. 25: at Neah Bay, 7 p.m.
  • Nov. 2: Darrington, 2 p.m.
Crescent’s Brayden Emery runs with the ball during a district playoff game against Mary M. Knight last season. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula Daily News)

Crescent’s Brayden Emery runs with the ball during a district playoff game against Mary M. Knight last season. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula Daily News)

Crescent’s Wyatt Lee, left, delivers a blow while carrying the ball against Oakville last season. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula Daily News)

Crescent’s Wyatt Lee, left, delivers a blow while carrying the ball against Oakville last season. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula Daily News)

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