Port Angeles’ Daniel Cable runs outside during a February 2021 contest against East Jefferson. Cable, a senior, is expected to see plenty of carries for the Roughriders this fall. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Port Angeles’ Daniel Cable runs outside during a February 2021 contest against East Jefferson. Cable, a senior, is expected to see plenty of carries for the Roughriders this fall. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Dustin Clark takes the reins for Roughriders

Experienced senior class key to Port Angeles’ success

PORT ANGELES — Turnout is high, the players are eager to learn and the coaching staff has a solid football pedigree.

It’s a new day in Roughrider football under the program’s new head coach Dustin Clark.

“The kids’ willingness to get better every day and their eagerness to learn and do what we ask and to work hard has stood out,” Clark said. “That’s what we’ve really preached and they are buying into it.”

Port Angeles brings back assistant coaches Pat Nickerson, Daniel Horton and Sam Salanoa and adds Tom Wahl, who compiled a 23-28 record with the program’s last state playoff appearance during his 2010-2014 tenure as Riders’ head coach.

Gary Ristick and 2018 PAHS graduate Easton Joslin also will volunteer as coaches.

Port Angeles has 73 players out for the team and Clark inherits what he called “a strong senior class.”

“With all the different things going on all over the world we were pleasantly surprised and now it’s a matter of us delivering as coaches and helping them get better every day,” Clark said.

The team is set at running back with three-year starters in the shifty and strong Daniel Cable (5-foot-8, 195-pounds) and power runner Jaziel Livingston (6-2, 210). Senior Izaac Coppage also will be in the mix in the offensive backfield.

Cable wrestled during the spring season and was impressive going up against tough competition in the 195-pound weight class, so expect some strong stiff-arms from the senior.

Livingston also will start at defensive end.

Sophomore Parker Nickerson is the leader in the quarterback competition. He started at the position as a freshman during the winter/spring season and showed flashes of passing game potential in home wins against East Jefferson and Kingston.

“Right now, yeah,” Clark said of Nickerson as starting QB. “We have a couple of other guys competing for that spot but he will probably be the guy for us at QB.”

Clark said he’s looking for leadership from the position and believes Nickerson understands the standard he’s seeking.

“That leadership part, the nice thing is I was able to coach him in basketball and he knows what I expect from him because of the potential there,” Clark said. “But he has to be the leader if he wants to play that spot.”

Receiving targets for Nickerson include experienced seniors Brantyn Fisler and Ty Bradow (6-0, 180) with Clark saying Coppage also should see time in the wideout rotation and at defensive back.

Senior Jeremiah Hall (6-1, 210) and sophomores Ezra Townsend and Kaleb Mullin will serve as tight ends.

Clark said the offensive and defensive lines are a bit young, but there is still solid senior experience.

Aaron Edmiston is a two-way starter, Nathan Seelye has good size at 6-3, 180 and figures to see ample time each way and Clark mentioned sophomores Jason Hawes, Cole Johnson and Joe Ritchie as potential contributors.

Schedule-wise, Port Angeles will return to Civic Field for home contests after playing two contests at Stevens Middle School during the spring/winter season.

The Roughriders open at Blaine at 6 p.m. Friday and host East Jefferson in their home opener at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 10. Other home games include North Kitsap (Sept. 24), North Mason (Oct. 1), Bainbridge (Oct. 15) and Olympic (Oct. 29).

North Kitsap is the consensus Olympic League favorite, but with COVID racing through area counties, there is more uncertainty than ever on who will be available and eligible to play on a given night.

For his Clark isn’t concerned with wins and losses right now, he’s focused on incremental improvement.

“The wins and losses will work themselves out, for us it’s getting better everyday,” Clark said. “They’ve got some potential, it’s a matter if we can put them all together and then we will see some success.

“It becomes how detailed we have to be and how smart we have to be. And the ceiling is as high as the kids want to strive for.”

________

Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-406-0674 or [email protected] news.com.

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