Sports

Football: Canton says staff won't change, but scheduling might

Rob Ells and his fellow assistants will continue to work under new South Kitsap football coach Eric Canton. - File photo
Rob Ells and his fellow assistants will continue to work under new South Kitsap football coach Eric Canton.
— image credit: File photo

New South Kitsap football coach Eric Canton has no shortage of work to finish, but there are a couple of factors he won't have to worry about.

Canton, who was hired May 17, said all of the Wolves' assistants under former coach D.J. Sigurdson will return next season.

He felt that would help South maintain continuity as it began spring practice this week under different leadership for the first time since 1997.

Canton also will not have to worry about putting together a schedule as Sigurdson finalized that earlier this year. That does not mean he did not have some concerns the first time he reviewed it.

"It seems to be loaded with heavy hitters up front," he said.

The Wolves' nonleague schedule might not be as daunting as it appears. South opens Aug. 31 against Kentridge and plays Sept. 7 at Newport. The Chargers and Knights both have nine state-playoff appearances, but each won just four games last year.

There won't be any breaks when Class 4A Narrows League play opens. The Wolves open league competition Sept. 14 against Gig Harbor and play at Bellarmine Prep the following week before closing out the month against Olympia. Those teams held the top three positions in 4A Narrows last year and all defeated South.

"I'll be curious to see where we are after that," Canton said.

October appears much more manageable as South plays at Yelm, which finished with a 2-7 record last year and is moving up from 3A Narrows, and follows with another road game against Lincoln, which hired former Seattle Seahawks' quarterback Jon Kitna as coach during the offseason. The Wolves' final home game is Oct. 19 against Stadium and they close out the regular season Oct. 26 at Central Kitsap.

Canton likely won't have to construct a schedule until the 2014 season. That is because 4A Narrows has seven schools locked in for the next two years and South is in the first year of a two-season schedule agreement with Kentridge and Newport. In 2013, the Wolves will play at the Chargers and host the Knights.

Because he did not build his own schedule when he was the coach at Bremerton from 1996-98, Canton said that will be an unfamiliar process for him. He said he will try and devise a nonleague schedule that pits the Wolves against similar competition.

"You don't want to put yourself in a position to destroy someone or get destroyed so there's a sense we're really good or bad," he said.

Canton said he is not averse to long road trips for nonleague games if he believes it will be beneficial to his team.

South has its first practice in full pads under Canton beginning at 2:45 p.m. Monday.

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