Anderson’s two-sport excellence clinches case

Past recipients

2009: Leon La Deaux

2008: Matt Foxworthy

2007: Renard Williams

2006: Brent Chriswell, Josiah Kipperberg

2005: Brent Chriswell

2004: Pat Kelly

He quarterbacked South Kitsap to its first 10-win season in a decade.

A few months later, he moved from behind the plate to the mound and became the Wolves’ No. 1 starter.

In addition to his on-field accomplishments, which included first-team all-Narrows League recognition in both sports, Gordy Anderson was lauded by coaches Jim Fairweather and D.J. Sigurdson for his character and leadership.

For those reasons, Anderson’s is the Port Orchard Independent’s Male Athlete of the Year.

“It’s a great honor,” Anderson said. “I’ve known people who have received it in the past and traits about them — hard-working and good in the community — I like to see myself as that.”

Anderson, who will walk onto the football team this fall at Washington State University, completed 103 of 180 passes for 1,859 yards, 22 touchdowns and six interceptions in his senior season. He became the first quarterback to start consecutive openers since Kyle Pease in 2004-05.

Sigurdson said Anderson was the best signal-caller in his tenure with the possible exception of Rob Minnitti, who guided South to the state-title game in 1997.

His best game came in a 38-21 win qualifying round of the Class 4A state playoffs against Heritage. He completed 18 of 28 passes for 348 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Anderson said he did not know about his gaudy statistics in that game until his mother informed him afterward.

“I didn’t even know I had those kind of numbers,” he said. “The receivers racked up a lot of yards — it was mainly them.”

Anderson worked with receivers that included junior Isaiah Davis and seniors Mike Alonzo and Leon La Deaux, who signed with Central Washington University. Another senior, tight end Greg Pickard, also factored into the receiving game.

“It’s been a long journey with those guys,” Anderson said.

He followed a different route in baseball. With players such as Collin Monagle and Brady Steiger in the lineup, Anderson batted lower and found himself on the mound infrequently on South’s 2009 state team.

But with the team returning few players beyond Ricky Johnson with pitching experience this season, and sophomore catchers Michael Nelson and Alex Sablan coming up, Anderson moved to the mound.

“I thought they were as good at catcher — if not better — than me,” Anderson said. “Why not switch it around?”

He developed into the Wolves’ No. 1 starter and posted a 4-1 record with a 2.26 ERA in 43 1/3 innings through the Narrows League playoffs. Anderson also struck out 44 batters.

“I ended up doing a lot better than I expected,” said Anderson, who throws a fastball, curve ball, change-up and splitter. “When I was on the mound, I had an attitude that I was going to come after batters. I’ll miss it.”

Anderson said he has no intention of playing baseball for the Cougars, who advanced to the NCAA Regionals for a second consecutive year. Instead, he will look to eventually earn playing time with WSU’s rebuilding football team, which has a 3-22 record in two seasons under coach Paul Wulff.

“They said my recruiting class is probably the best in 25 years and the year before us was really good,” Anderson said. “Things are getting turned around.”

He is less declarative when the subject switches to his prospects for playing time. Walk-ons often face greater challenges to earn playing time than scholarship athletes, and WSU returns sophomore starter Jeff Tuel along with junior Marshall Lobbestael. Another incoming recruit, Spokane’s Connor Halliday, along with redshirt freshman David Gilbertson, whose father, Keith, coached the Huskies in 2003-04, also could vie for playing time.

“It looks like Jeff will be the starter for years to come unless one of us passes him up,” Anderson said.

That does not mean Anderson has conceded defeat. He just acknowledges it will be a long road — a thought he relishes.

“When I went over there, I just felt at home,” Anderson said. “It’s Division-I football and in the Pac-10. It’s a big opportunity for me to push myself.”

Sigurdson said it is a “high goal,” but added that his 6-foot-3, 210-pound pupil developed significantly between his junior and senior seasons and believes he can continue to improve.

“He won’t be limited by his size or mind,” he said. “It’s just a matter of whether his body can catch up and can he physically do what those guys can do at that level.”

Anderson said there is plenty of work ahead. In addition to work in the weight room — he hopes to add 10 pounds of muscle this summer — he wants to work on his throwing mechanics. He also will have to transition to the Cougars’ no-huddle offense that utilizes shotgun and spread formations.

And while the scouting services might not regard him as a five-star prospect, Sigurdson said plenty of quarterbacks have been successful without that designation. He feels Anderson could be another.

“A lot of quarterbacks get things done with their mind and competitiveness,” he said. “I’m excited about the prospect for Gordy if he sticks with it.”

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