Sports

SK trio keeping the dream alive

"It was 17 years before Bill Meadows had strapped on shoulder pads.But the 1984 South Kitsap High School graduate, who didn't have a future in football beyond high school, has been given an opportunity to play again as a receiver on Bremerton's West Sound Orcas semi-pro football team.I'm the oldest guy besides our kicker (Mike Crowley), but I just like the sport, Meadows said.Meadows, who owns a karaoke/DJ business, caught on with the Orcas halfway through the season last year.I had a friend who was on the team, and that's how I found out about it, he said. They didn't have a lot of guys, so I turned out and earned my way to a starting position.After sitting on the bench for most of last season, Meadows is now one of the featured receivers on the team.I'm up there until someone beats me out, he said. I'm not a real fast runner. We have some guys that are real fast. I've got no speed at all. But get the ball to me and I usually catch it.At 35, Meadows said he's in his best shape since high school.I was 130 (pounds) in high school, so I haven't gained much since then, he said. I'm 165 to 170 now but I've been hitting the gym more, so that helps.Meadows said he's not trying to prove a point to anyone. He enjoys being able to play a sport he's always loved.I love this, Meadows said. I feel like I'm in my mid-20s. I think I give the younger guys hope. Most are in their mid-20s and they see me out there and that gives them another 10 years.***While Meadows is relishing his opportunity, more recent SK graduates Elkanah Montgomery (1999) and Arnie Otterbeck (1997) are using football as a tool for the future.Otterbeck, who was a terror on the SK football field, admits he washed away opportunities to play college football.College is something I made a mistake on, Otterbeck said. I didn't do the legwork and didn't ask the questions. I had a lot of growing up to do. Looking back it's a 'shoulda, coulda, woulda,' but there must have been a purpose for that.Three years removed from playing the sport, Otterbeck made a return to the football field with the Orcas last year.The 22-year-old hoped playing for the Orcas would give him another shot at college football.That's exactly what happened.He attended Eastern Washington University last spring and participated in spring practices.They liked him and asked him to come back this fall.Although he's walking on, Otterbeck said he's thrilled about getting another chance to play.He will play as a sophomore, since he burned up freshman eligibility when he attended Olympic College in 1998.But he'll take the three years he has left.Three years is plenty of time, he said. Football is always going to be a part of me.Otterbeck said EWU has him listed as a fullback, which is a part-time position.He said he hopes to make his mark on special teams.But for now, he's enjoying his second season with Orcas.I just love it, he said. I'm lifting, running and playing semipro football. These are a great group of guys to play with.Otterbeck said he'd like to quash the idea Orcas football is scrub ball.It's harder, in the sense that you're not practicing five or six days a week, Otterbeck said. You can only do so much. These guys have families and stuff. The joy about this team is the camaraderie and everyone comes from different walks of life. One thing brings us together and that's magical.Otterbeck said he admits the football isn't polished at times but the players are always geared up and having fun.Otterbeck said he's ready for the new challenge at EWU and hopes other people can learn from him.I wasn't a star student, but now I've developed better study habits, he said. If you're not learning anything, you're not living.***Living is what Montgomery is concentrating on.The 20-year-old running back is still working on getting his life in order.So much so, he even pondered quitting football four weeks into the Orcas' season.I can't quit football, Montgomery said. I'm just working on trying to survive. Right now, I gotta look for a place of my own.Montgomery has hopes of attending Washington State University and even walking on.But he's just trying to find a place of his own to get his business in order.I gotta take care of myself, family, and then football, he said. In high school I put football first, went to college (Central Washington) and put football first and it didn't work because I didn't focus on anything else.Montgomery said he's trying to get a job at the shipyard and save up some money before he can think about college and football.I gotta push harder, he said. I know I haven't been working hard. Now I'm starting to. I just need to stay consistent and things will come. Even if I don't go to Wazzu, I'm going to save up and go to (Olympic College).Montgomery said the combination of shared playing time with other running backs, paired with the three consecutive blowout losses challenged whether he wanted to continue playing this season.But he said he's starting to have fun again.Right now I'm just going with the flow. Whatever happens, I'm not going to stress about it. "

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