Sports

Wolves get an early taste of Qwest Field

Even though most of the South Kitsap contingent that made the trip to Qwest Field in Seattle for Wednesday’s media day for the Emerald City Kickoff Classic had at least been in the stadium once before, there was an air of excitement and a sense of awe as they walked down onto the field.

On a day when nine of the 10 teams that will take part in the Sept. 5 showcase of high school football got an up-close look at what awaits them on Labor Day, the Wolves were impressed.

“It looks so much different,” senior Monte Enyeart said of the view from the turf. “I like it.”

Enyeart joined fellow senior Kyle Saltsgaver, junior Jesse Galligan and sophomore Stefan Tucker, along with coaches D.J. Sigurdson, Jim Fairweather, Dustin Booth and athletic director Ed Santos, for a day that was supposed to be a fun one for the kids and the coaches.

“(It has been fun) yes, exceptional,” Sigurdson said. “They’ve taken care of us really well. Coming in, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. We got here and they welcomed us and they’ve treated us very well.”

The Kickoff Classic will conclude with the South Kitsap-Mercer Island game at 8 p.m., the last of five games. Other games on the schedule include Wenatchee-White River at 9:30 a.m., Evergreen-Ferris at noon, Gonzaga Prep-Bellarmine Prep at 3 p.m. and the showcase game, California’s Mission Viejo vs. Issaquah at 5:30 p.m.

The media day gave all the teams involved a chance to see the stadium up close and meet and greet their opponents.

“I wanted to bring a couple of underclassmen and make it a little bit of a reward,” Sigurdson said of his four players. “It would have been nice to bring everybody that was 100 percent attendance in all of our summer programs and stuff, but we were limited (in the number of players we could bring). Initially, I was thinking let’s bring 30 kids and have kind of a walk-through, but that was not the context of the meeting today.

“I tried to bring kids, one from each class,” Sigurdson said. “I knew we would bring the captains and the other two. I wanted it to be a reward.”

Galligan had perfect attendance throughout the summer season, the Eastern University Camp, the South football camp and all the weight-lifting days, as did Tucker. Enyeart and Saltsgaver made the trip because they are the team’s captains this year.

Both said they had attended Seahawk games in the past, but getting a tour of the stadium and getting down on the sidelines made their day. And while it looks a bit overwhelming, both said it shouldn’t be a problem come game day.

“At first, I’m sure it will overwhelm us all, but we’ll get out there and we’ll be ready,” Enyeart said. “We’ll be ready to play by game time, and that’s all that matters.”

The day also gave the Wolves a chance to meet some of their opponents, such as Mercer Island coach Dick Nicholl and senior defensive back Eric Morris.  

“We talked to a couple of them. They’re pretty nice guys,” Galligan said.

Nicholl and Morris both said they’re well aware of South Kitsap’s reputation and are looking forward to playing them.

“I’ve known of South Kitsap football since the days of Ed Fisher, and they’ve carried on that tradition very well,” Nicholl said. “We’ll have our work cut out for us.”

Sigurdson said the staff of the WIAA immediately took away a lot of anxiety by having already dealt with most of the major issues that face the team’s participation in the game. Little things that may not seem that important at first look but can cause headaches, like transportation questions, scheduling and the like.

“They’ve done a great job. It’s been a good day,” Sigurdson said. “It’s been a real productive day. It’s really neat; the Seahawks have been so welcoming. You don’t feel like you are intruding on anything. Of course, they’re working and they don’t want us out (on the field). There’s things going on there, but they’re just amazing. It’s nice.”

All of this comes just days before the start of August practices. The Wolves wrapped up their weight testing on Friday night and will hold the Wolf Run at 7 p.m. Monday at the high school. After a team meeting Tuesday night, practice begins in earnest Wednesday morning.

“It feels like October. We’ve just been going forever,” Sigurdson said. “(The kids) did not want to take any time off. They’ve done a good job.”

Notes: Santos confirmed that Booth was hired on as an assistant last week, which completes the football staff. Booth, a former player, worked as a volunteer assistant last year and replaces Joe Reasons on the Wolves’ staff.

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