Sports

SK gridders reload for 2002

One of the luxuries of the South Kitsap High School football program is its ability to reload instead of rebuild.

It’s been 23 years since an SK team didn’t find itself in the state playoffs.

When it built itself into a streak, the big question has always been if this is the year the streak ends.

SK coaches and players take pride in the streak and they use it as one of many motivating factors to succeed.

SK coach D.J. Sigurdson inherits a 2002 team that lost its entire starting offensive line and all but one defensive lineman.

Yet, Sigurdson said he likes what he is seeing out of the new starting linemen.

There’s a lot of work ahead, he said, but they are doing everything they can to get better.

“The offensive line as a whole is doing a good job (at practice), and that’s important,” Sigurdson said. “Their style in the game is going to be resourcefulness.”

SK will not have its prototypical big men on the lines this year.

Senior linemen Josh O’Donnell and Bubba Dunn tip the scales at 250 pounds but only one other lineman weighs more than 215 pounds.

Technique and “resourcefulness” are what will be expected to help take SK back to the playoffs.

Senior Devin Spencer is a key player to the lines’ cohesiveness.

A defensive end last year, Spencer (6-1, 205 pounds) will bring his experience up front.

While Spencer doesn’t have the prototypical size of a lineman, Sigurdson said his experience is invaluable.

“Spencer has more game experience than any of our other guys,” Sigurdson said. “I just don’t see anyone beating him out.”

Sigurdson said he’ll look to junior Clayton Hutchins (6-1, 242 pounds) and Dunn to solidify the lines.

While the offensive and defensive lines are a wait-and-see situation, there are no question marks at the skill positions.

While the Wolves will miss Travis Vetters’ leadership at quarterback, senior Jared Stevenson (5-10, 175 pounds) has earned the starting job this year after backing up Vetters last year.

A battle is on for the backup quarterback position between juniors Tommy Patrick and Josh Fullington — two different styles of quarterbacks.

Patrick (5-9, 156 pounds) adds speed to the position while Fullington (6-6, 208 pounds) boasts the strongest arm of all three quarterbacks.

While Sigurdson likes to see the physical skills, Stevenson won the starting job because of his mental readiness.

“Jared’s doing a really nice job mentally,” Sigurdson said. “Jared is No. 1 because he’s been executing all parts of (the job).”

The Wolves won’t see any drop off in the running game despite the graduation of all-time leading rusher Ryan Cole.

Senior Victor Valle (5-8, 160 pounds) took advantage of his minimal carries he got last year as the backup running back and will be expected to be the guy this year.

Backing up Valle are juniors Brent Nickerson (5-9, 165 pounds), Pat Kelly (5-9, 154), and Jon Shepherd 5-8, (176 pounds).

Sigurdson also has a bevy of wide receivers and defensive backs to work with.

Leading the way at wide receiver are sure-handed junior Richard Fein

(5-11, 176 pounds) and senior Nick Anderson (6-1, 177 pounds).

Senior Cody McCulley (6-3, 198 pounds), who sat out with a torn ACL last year, is back and will be looked upon to contribute at receiver, and junior Charlton Mason (6-1, 165) will earn some playing time as well.

The starting secondary will include Kelly, Valle, Nickerson and Craig Senter.

The heart and soul of the team will revolve around the menacing linebacking corps of seniors Andy Sund (6-2, 200 pounds) and Anderson, and juniors Chris Anderson (5-9, 208 pounds) and Anthony Aguirre (5-9, 182 pounds).

Aguirre is the lone newcomer but he will be surrounded by what many are calling the best group of linebackers ever at South Kitsap.

Sund, the reigning Narrows League defensive MVP, and Anderson are the inside linebackers while Anderson and Aguirre will man the outside spots.

Sigurdson said he’s not concerned with the production he’ll get from his linebackers.

“It’s really nice to have the experience of those three back,” Sigurdson said. “Andy and Chris are just everywhere on the field. Anthony doesn’t have a lot of experience but this is really important to him. He wants to do his part. Nick is very athletic. He’s on top (five) of our boards except in the bench press.”

Though SK doesn’t kick many field goals, senior Hiram Davis (5-8, 151 pounds) returns as the placekicker.

After coming on strong in the latter half of the last season, Sigurdson said he’s noticed more strength in Davis’ leg.

The punting duties have come down to a battle between Nick Anderson and Kelly.

As for the Narrows League, Sigurdson said he expects Gig Harbor and Central Kitsap to be strong again this year.

Port Angeles and Olympic will feature two of the league’s better running backs in Adam Macomber and Jarrell Nelson.

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