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Narrows adjustment leads to major changes
Add one, drop one.
South Kitsap athletic director Ed Santos said Tuesday that the Narrows League will be comprised of 11 teams again for the 2008-09 school year. North Kitsap, which shrunk with the opening of Kingston in its district, opted down to the Class 3A Olympic League for next year.
Shelton, which was reclassified as a 4A school in the latest WIAA realignment, will leave the 3A Western Cascade Conference after two seasons to rejoin the Narrows.
However, Santos said Shelton will join the Bridge Division rather than the Bay Division, where North played. He said there won't be separate divisions for football.
I think the communities will rally behind it and the kids wont have any trouble getting excited, South coach D.J. Sigurdson said. Were going to have eight games that mean something toward our league. As a result, I think the league is going to be a lot stronger.
Because of that change, Santos said each school will have a bye against one league team. Teams in the Tacoma School District Foss, Lincoln, Mount Tahoma, Stadium and Wilson wont miss playing one another during the next two years, which is the standard WIAA classification cycle.
I think its unfair that ... five schools got to dictate that they had to play one another, Sigurdson said. Theres a little bit of inequity in that. That means one of their drops is going to be one of the other schools, which are perennially tougher schools.
That means the Wolves likely will have a bye against one of the Tacoma schools and could play Bellarmine Prep for the first time since 1999.
We havent played Bellarmine for a long time and that will get renewed if not this year, next year, Sigurdson said. That was a huge rivalry, so to get that game back will be nice.
The WIAA allows teams to play as many as 10 regular-season games, which leaves the Wolves with one nonleague game. Thats the fewest nonleague games since South also played one, against Bellevue, in 2004.
Santos said the Narrows League has an agreement to play its nonleague games against the 3A South Puget Sound League. That league will be made up of Auburn Mountainview, Bonney Lake, Clover Park, Enumclaw, Franklin Pierce, Lakes, Peninsula, Sumner and White River next season. The Wolves played Clover Park the last two seasons and Sigurdson said he would prefer to see another team.
Even if the Wolves play their nonleague game the first week of the season Santos expects the schedule to be released this month Sigurdson said his team will have to prepare a little differently than last season when none of their first three games counted in the division standings. He said there will be less time to evaluate and the coaching staff will have to get the kids ready to go earlier.
That preparation also will include a different summer-camp venue. Sigurdson, who played linebacker at Eastern Washington from 1986-89, took the Wolves to his alma maters team camp every summer but said it has become cost prohibitive to travel to Cheney. He said it cost nearly $4,000 just to travel to Eastern last summer and the team instead will attend the University of Puget Sounds team camp in July.
I like their staff and the way he (UPS coach Phil Willenbrock) does things, he said, adding that the decision had nothing to do with Eastern coach Paul Wulff leaving for the same post at Washington State in December. Ive heard a lot of good things about their camp.
NARROWS LEAGUE 2008-09