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Wolves face foreign foe Friday night
Scheduling nonleague games can provide challenges, but South Kitsap football coach D.J. Sigurdson says this year was more difficult than most.
The Wolves typically are able to find opponents and finalize their schedule before New Year’s Day. But with the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association reclassifying schools, which resulted in the Narrows becoming a 4A/3A league for the first time, Sigurdson and his counterparts finished their schedules a couple of months later than usual.
What ensued was a recruiting pitch — not toward athletes, but some of the state’s top programs. Except Sigurdson found himself at a disadvantage. When the league schedule was released, only Olympia, Gig Harbor and Stadium were slated for Joe Knowles Field. And he already had an agreement with Tahoma coach Tony Davis to play his team this year in Maple Valley, with the Bears coming to Port Orchard next season.
Simply put, Sigurdson needed a home game. After a few potential deals fell through, he was able to extract the phone number of Vancouver College coach Todd Bernett through a mutual friend at Eastern Washington University, where both played at different times.
When Bernett answered, Sigurdson said the arrangement was finalized within minutes. South will play the Fighting Irish next year in British Columbia.
Vancouver College is an all-boys university-preparatory Catholic school that uses American football rules. The Fighting Irish finished with an 8-1 record during the regular season last year, including a 56-0 win in their opener against Bothell’s Cedar Park Christian.
Sigurdson said Vancouver College’s passing game is strong with senior quarterback Jeff Tichelman returning along with junior wide receivers Matt Ellis and Colin Patterson. Sigurdson said the 6-foot-4 Patterson stands out.
“They have a really talented big guy,” he said. “He’s a big physical receiver.”
Another player Sigurdson’s staff is planning for is 6-3, 260-pound Christian Covington, who he called a disruptive presence on the defensive line.
“He’s got some pedigree,” he said. “His dad played in the CFL.”
But more importantly, Sigurdson said he is focused on his own team’s play. While South returns standout wide receiver Isaiah Davis, there will be a new signal-caller for the first time in two years. The decision on the new starter was made after Tuesday’s practice when Sigurdson and quarterbacks coach Kyle Pease, who started at that position for the Wolves in 2004-05, selected senior Tanner Romo over juniors Aaron La Deaux and Eddie Meisner.
Sigurdson said he wanted to avoid a scenario where Romo, who made one start in a 10-0 win last year against Central Kitsap, summarily was selected because he is a senior. He said the three quarterbacks were evaluated in 21 different categories before a decision was made.
Romo’s backup might not be determined until the conclusion of Thursday’s practice. But Sigurdson said all three quarterbacks are likely to play with the No. 2 quarterback probably seeing action during the second series of the second quarter.
Regardless of which quarterback is in the game, Sigurdson said he is confident in their abilities. He hopes the team can continue to open up the playbook a little more as it did last season with Gordy Anderson, who now is a walk-on at Washington State.
“We want to continue to do the same things on offense that we’ve done,” Sigurdson said.
The only other personnel change during the last two weeks came at left guard. Sigurdson expected seniors Joe Beverage and Brennen Fernie to vie for that position. Instead, 6-3, 241-pound Austin Kanouse will be the only sophomore starter on varsity.
“He’s really gotten himself physically ready,” Sigurdson said. “It’s nice to have a sophomore that’s as ready to play as he is.”
• Veteran assistant coach Jim Fairweather rejoined the staff following the departure of Ron Ness.