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Energetic Gascoyne aims for playoffs | Football preview

Senior Adam Gascoyne, who plays running back and safety, enters his third year as a varsity member for South Kitsap. - File Photo
Senior Adam Gascoyne, who plays running back and safety, enters his third year as a varsity member for South Kitsap.
— image credit: File Photo

It was a position change that presented challenges.

After all, South Kitsap senior Adam Gascoyne tries to take the theory out of perpetual motion.

Instinctively, he looks to run rather than react. That worked well when he was a varsity linebacker in 2010 where his mission simply was to chase down whoever held the ball.

But, particularly on an undersized defensive unit, the 5-foot-11, 175-pound Gascoyne fit better at safety. While that was better from a physical standpoint, the transition was not as easy from a psychological perspective.

“Linebacker was different because I just attacked the runner,” Gascoyne said. “Playing safety relies on intelligence. You can’t let anyone get behind you. I did that a few times last year.”

First-year South coach Eric Canton said Gascoyne’s disposition allows him to quickly move past adversity.

“Clown would be a good description for him,” he said. “It’s a great mentality. He bounces back pretty well.”

Classmate Bryce Broome, a fullback who has played varsity with Gascoyne since their sophomore year and competed against him for several years before that, agreed.

“He’s a good guy to be around,” Broome said. “He gives off that silly vibe, but he can be serious when he wants to be.”

Gascoyne is not a captain this year, but both Broome and Canton agreed he is one of the team’s leaders. Teammates often have commented on Gascoyne’s boundless energy, and Canton said he sets a positive example for them through his work ethic.

“He’s got the guts, competitiveness and drive,” Canton said. “It’s good for the younger kids to see.”

Gascoyne seems to embody the Wolves’ “full throttle” theme this season. He bitterly recalls a second-half meltdown against rival Gig Harbor, where South allowed 23 unanswered points in the game’s final 24 minutes to lose 30-20. There also was the Class 4A state play-in game, where Desmond Young rushed for 278 yards and two touchdowns to end the Wolves’ season. Gascoyne said players need to remain focused and work hard when adversity hits.

He lauded the chemistry of this year’s team.

“I believe this group will go far,” Gascoyne said. “If we stick together, nothing will stop us.”

There is no lack of incentives. South last advanced to the state playoffs in 2009, which means no player on the roster has reached that pinnacle. And after having a subpar junior year academically, Gascoyne said he has not received attention from colleges.

“I’ve had my ups and downs just like any other athlete,” he said, vowing to redeem himself in the classroom.

Gascoyne also competes in track and wrestling, where he placed fourth in subregionals in the 160-pound weight class.

“Wrestling is a tough sport,” he said. “That builds character. If you can wrestle, you can do anything.”

As much as Gascoyne enjoys being an increasingly rare three-sport athlete, nothing compares with Friday nights. He cherishes the thought of taking a handoff again Aug. 31 against Kentridge with Broome and the offensive line opening holes.

“I love the fact that when I’ve got the ball people have to come to me,” Gascoyne said.

Running back might be Gascoyne’s familiar and favorite position, but Canton said he likely will see more time on the defensive side.

“Our priority is always defense,” said Canton, adding that the Wolves also feature plenty of depth at running back.

After a year at safety, Gascoyne said he is ready for the challenge.

“I’m fast and instinctive,” he said. “My body knows what to do.”

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