Sports

Success for SK running game starts up front

Brian Kuznek — at 6-foot-6 and 286 pounnds — will be a formidable presence at left tackle for the Wolves. - Jesse Beals/Staff Photo
Brian Kuznek — at 6-foot-6 and 286 pounnds — will be a formidable presence at left tackle for the Wolves.
— image credit: Jesse Beals/Staff Photo

Wolves will feature a mix of familiar faces, newcomers on

the offensive

line this season.

Offensive lines are built outward in.

That perhaps is a positive develop-ment for South Kitsap as it prepares for the season opener Friday against Stadium.

Two seniors who started last season at right tackle, 6-foot-6, 286-pound Brian Kuznek and Andrew Yaptinchay (5-11 ½, 231) return.

Kuznek moves over to left tackle, while Yaptinchay starts on the right.

But the Wolves also feature several new starters on a line that helped the team to a 7-4 record and its first state-playoff berth since 2002 a year ago.

Starters such as Tyler Danison and Brad Feddersen graduated from a group that helped running back Stephen Tucker rush for 1,329 yards and 14 touchdowns.

The running backs averaged 6.7 yards per carry last year.

Three of the starters are seniors, with center Elias Hansen (5-11 ½, 262) joining Kuznek and Yaptinchay.

A pair of juniors — Nick Boss (5-10 ½, 234) and Keith Grey (6-2, 234) — are the starters at the guard spots.

“It’s early in the season, so the mental mistakes are there,” said Joey Dame, who works with the team’s centers. “But the effort and physicalness are there.”

Yaptinchay feels the group just needs to make some slight adjustments.

“I think we just need to improve a little more on our technique and being sound with our confidence,” he said.

Dame said the work needs to develop consistency.

He said one player will standout in a particular practice and then regress while another steps forward.

The team’s first- and second-string offensive linemen all are juniors and seniors, but Dame said the Wolves have “a good class of sophomores coming in.”

He said the coaches have divided practices into returnees and newcomers to provide more individual attention to players.

A byproduct of that is that sopho-mores haven’t been able to compete against upperclassmen, which makes it difficult for them to jump up the depth chart.

If the offensive line is as talented as Boss thinks, it might be even more challenging.

“I think we’re all collectively good,” he said. “We try and boost ourselves up and make each other better.”

The line should have talent to work with at running back again this year.

Senior running back Sean Allison, who rushed for 547 and nine touchdowns on 74 carries in 2007, is one of several players returning.

“It’s pretty much all about being physical and getting the job done,” Boss said. “We’re going to have a good year.”

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