Sports

Alston, Martindale front Bremerton reps

By KITSAP NEWS GROUP

While the gridiron wasn’t much kinder on Bremerton football’s win-loss record in 2007 than in the past, the Knights continued to get closer and closer to their goal of turning the team around.

Although Bremerton finished with just one win, two more were well within reach and Bremerton stayed competitive in nearly each contest the Knights played this year.

As a result, the Knights were just as competitive in vying for spots on this fall’s All-Kitsap County Football team.

The All-Kitsap County teams are compiled by the sports writers for the Bainbridge Island Review, the Bremerton Patriot, the Central Kitsap Reporter, the North Kitsap Herald and the Port Orchard Independent. Candidates for the team are nominated by the writers for their respective areas. The nominees are then voted on by the writers, with the top vote-getters making the teams. Two honorable mentions are selected from each school for each sport. The teams include the best players from area schools that not only performed well individually, but played a role in the success of their team as well.

2007 All-Kitsap County Football Team

MVP — RB Howard McDonald, Central Kitsap, junior — Former Central Kitsap quarterback Zac Brown hit the nail on the head in talking about McDonald’s running style after CK blew out South Kitsap 49-21 on Sept. 14. Brown said with how much McDonald spins, twists, leaps, squirms and fights his way down field, watching him run was like playing Madden, the popular video game.

McDonald’s numbers support that observation, as he ran to 1,619 yards on 242 carries with 17 rushing touchdowns. He was also an above-average linebacker, recording 44 tackles with a sack, a forced fumble and three fumble recoveries.

What makes McDonald even sweeter to CK is the fact he was just a junior this year. After helping CK advance to state for the first time since 1997, McDonald will be at the forefront of helping CK repeat that success next year.

Coach of the Year — Mark Keel, Central Kitsap — Last season, the Cougars were 0-7 with three games to go, playing a group made up largely of underclassmen with things not looking much brighter. But Keel rallied his team to three consecutive wins to close the season. So when 2007 began, Keel told his players to stay motivated, to remember the feeling of that win streak.

It worked.

CK finished the regular season at 9-1, second only to an Olympia team that beat them. CK advanced all the way to the state playoffs, falling in the round of 16 to Bothell, still alive in the race for the state’s 4A crown.

Oh yeah, and CK only had 11 seniors this season.

It was clear that in 2007, Keel had his players set on working as a team, which led to winning as a team much more often than losing as one. And now, with most the team coming back, the Cougars are poised to pick up where this year left off.

Offense

QB — Jason Simonis, Central Kitsap, junior — Simonis, who hit a growth spurt prior to the season that saw him grow from a 5-foot, 11-inch sophomore into a 6-foot, 3-inch junior, experience a much more important growth spurt this season. Simonis learned what it means to poised in the pocket this season, completing 73 of 134 pass attempts for a 54.5 completion percentage. Simonis finished with 1,296 yards and 12 scores to just four interceptions. He also ran in two more scores and should be a big part of CK’s offense next year, even without top target Caleb Brown.

RB — Andre Moore, Klahowya, junior — It wasn’t too hard For Andre Moore to step into the shoes of graduated running back Isaac Solaita. Not only did Moore take Soliata’s jersey number (4), he also took his spot in the Eagles’ record books, breaking the new school record for rushing yards in a season with 1,573 yards on 163 carries for a whopping 9.6 average. He was able to score 17 touchdowns on the ground while adding another score and 46 yards through the air. Defensively, Moore was a standout defensive back, recording 89 tackles along with two picks and three sacks. Just a junior, the best of Moore is yet to come.

RB — Stephen Tucker, South Kitsap, senior — Quality running play was a staple of South Kitsap football when it reached the state playoffs every season from 1980 to 2002, a Washington record. Tucker became the latest star running back for the Wolves, who returned to state for the first time in five years behind his 1,329 yards and 14 touchdowns on 187 carries.

WR — Jack Clearman, Kingston, senior — Despite Kingston’s winless season, No. 9 was all over the field for the Buccaneers. Clearman finished the 2007 season with 61 receptions for 838 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was hands down the best receiver in the Olympic League. Clearman’s run-after-the-catch ability resulted in him averaging 13.7 yards per reception. Clearman averaged 104 yards receiving per game.

WR — Dimitri Alston, Bremerton, junior — Alston was one of the biggest benefactors of the reins being loosened on quarterback Jacob Belden. While Belden took some time to hit his stride, he was able to connect with Alston to the tune of 376 receiving yards and four scores on 16 receptions. But the best part about Alston is he’ll be back as Belden’s top threat next year too.

TE — Caleb Brown, Central Kitsap, senior — Caleb Brown’s value to Central Kitsap can not be understated. The CK senior and state’s No. 24 recruit according to washingtonpreps.com, was huge on both sides of the ball. Brown gave Simonis a consistent target first off, as Brown caught 25 catches for 689 yards with 8 touchdowns. As a safety, Brown logged 36 tackles with four picks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Brown was also a big return threat for CK, running back punts for 173 yards and two more scores. Brown will land somewhere as a collegiate tight end next fall, the only question now is where.

OL — Gary French, Bainbridge, senior — French was part of a talented offensive line that helped clear the way for Bainbridge’s top running backs to gain over 2500 yards this season despite playing with two painful hip flexors. He also contributed on the defensive line with 32 tackles and one sack. 

OL — Brad Fedderson, South Kitsap, senior — South Kitsap featured three running backs -- Stephen Tucker, Ryan Williams and Sean Allison -- who rushed for 100-yard games this season. SK coach DJ Sigurdson attributed some of their success to tight end Matt Foxworthy, whom he regarded as the team’s best blocker and Fedderson, the Wolves’ top offensive lineman.

OL — David Reynolds, Olympic, senior — Not many kids work harder than David Reynolds. The Trojan senior, standing just 5-11 and weighing in at 220 pounds, was rarely the largest player on the field. But what Reynolds lacked in physical size, he more than made up for with heart, as Olympic coach Eric Allen called Reynolds the top lineman in the Olympic League. Reynolds also helped Oly fill a void on defense, recording 36 tackles in helping the Trojans make it to the state preliminary round for the first time in 11 years. Reynolds is one of many Trojan seniors that will be remembered for helping turn the program around.

OL — Cecil Spence, Central Kitsap, senior — While CK was short on seniors, Spence was one of several that keyed up an offensive line that allowed McDonald, Brown, Simonis and Co. to put up more than 3,000 total yards this season. Spence was a leader for the Cougars and helped set the tone for a work ethic that should continue to permeate the CK program. Defensively, Spence recorded 23 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble for the Cougars.

OL — Dominic Cruz, Klahowya, sophomore — While just a sophomore, Cruz got more than enough experience in 2007. The Klahowya lineman was known throughout the school for his work ethic, with running back Cody Hertenstein as well as other Eagles pointing out Cruz as the standard for “working his butt off.” With Klahowya graduating just one member of it’s O-line this school year, Cruz will continue to be a vital part of the Eagles’ running game.

Defense

DL — Will Morris, Central Kitsap, senior — While Morris’ stats may not be the most impressive around, few defensive linemen put as much pressure on the quarterback as routinely as Morris did. At 6-0 and 260 pounds, Morris had deceptive speed and agility that helped him crack the opposition’s offensive line, as Morris recorded 26 tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery. But again, some of Morris’ biggest attributes were those not measure in statistics, as he was one of just 11 seniors on this year’s team.

DL — Kyle McCown, North Kitsap, senior — The lanky defensive end possessed a motor that never stopped. McCown finished with nine tackles for a loss and five sacks on the season. No. 90 was one of the hardest hitters on the team.

DL — Dayton Gilbreath, Bainbridge, senior — Like his older brother Bryan, Dayton was a threat to score every time he touched the ball for the Spartans this season, contributing on defense (with 55 tackles, four sacks and four fumble recoveries), offense (rushing for 1,119 yards and 18 touchdowns and catching 12 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown) and special teams (returning two punts for scores).

DL — Rashad Greene, Olympic, senior — Greene was a weapon Olympic could not have done without this season. While his presence on the defensive side of the ball was irreplaceable, he was also a vital cog of the Trojans’ run offense. Greene picked up 479 yards on 62 carries from the backfield, scoring 11 times. Defensively, he recorded 51 tackles with 5.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries and a block. His blocking also helped open lanes for super sophomore Larry Dixon. But again, it’s Greene’s example as one of the seniors that turned the team from a one-win squad two years ago to the state tourney contender this season that will be missed most.

LB — Chris Martindale, Bremerton, senior — A senior, Martindale was a prolific tackler for Knights, recording an astounding 90 tackles with a sack, a pick and two fumble recoveries. While Martindale won’t be back to try to help the Knights continue the growing process, his example will remain as one to follow.

LB — Josh Burlingame, South Kitsap, senior — After missing nearly the entire 2006 season with a torn anterior-cruciate ligament in his right knee, the 5-foot, 9 1/2-inch, 207-pound Burlingame returned the Wolves’ “emotional leader” on defense, according to South Kitsap coach DJ Sigurdson. Burlingame led the Wolves with 76 tackles and was known as the team’s hardest hitter.

LB — Chris Wade, Kingston, senior — Buccaneers middle linebacker Chris Wade was the heart and soul of the Buccaneers defense. Wade was always around the ball, which was evident by the team-high 77 tackles he made in Kingston’s eight games. He averaged 9.625 tackles a contest. After a stellar performance against Sequim in late September, Bucs coach Novick had this to say about his middle linebacker.

DB — Blake Johnson, Olympic, sophomore — What a year Johnson had. Another of Oly’s impact sophomores, Johnson was vital defensively for the Trojans, picking off an almost unheard of 11 passes. He also recored 62 tackles. Offensively, he was quarterback Zach Bird’s top target, catching 12 passes for 201 yards and four touchdowns, adding another score on a 20-yard run. His speed and field vision also helped in to 155 return yards this season.

DB — Glenn Hewey, Central Kitsap, senior — Few put as much in to the program as Hewey, and even less took CK’s season-ending loss to Bothell at state as hard. Hewey was nothing short of consistent for the Cougars this season despite being overshadowed in the secondary by Brown. But flying under the radar was just fine for Hewey, as the CK senior recorded 23 tackles and four picks.

DB — Greg Ottele, North Kitsap, senior — A multi-talented Mr. Everything, Ottele finished the year with four interceptions from his strong safety position. The hard-hitting senior also played well on the offensive side of the ball, finishing with 364 yards on the ground.

DB — Cody Hertenstein, Klahowya, junior — Another key two-way player, Hertenstein helped the Eagles on both sides of the ball and ultimately, back to the state prelim round. He ran for 749 yards on 140 carries while scoring eight times in addition to his defensive numbers: 62 tackles and a pick. Hertenstein was most exciting to watch on special teams however, as he recorded three blocks on punts and kicks and came close to about a half-dozen more.

Special Teams

K — Zach Sampson, North Kitsap, junior — Sampson connected on 21 of 23 extra points for the Vikings this year. Sampson booted a 39-yard field goal breaking a school record that had stood for 20 years in the final game of the season against Port Angeles. He scored 29 points and averaged 48.7 yards per kickoff this year.

P — Kevin McCormick, Bainbridge, sophomore — McCormick did the job for the Spartans this season with his strong leg, punting 25 times for 807 yards, averaging 32.3 yards per punt and pinning opponents deep in its territory time after time. 

RET — Ryan Williams, South Kitsap, junior — The Wolves’ star return man follows his older brother, Renard, who now is at Eastern Washington, on the all-Kitsap team. Sigurdson said his initial reaction when he saw the younger Williams, who weighs 100 pounds less than his brother, was “those guys are related?” but it didn’t take long for him to get recognized. He had kickoff returns of 93, 89 and 84 yards this year — all for touchdowns.

Honorable mention

RB/DB — Alex Griffin, Bremerton, senior — Griffin, a state track runner, used his speed to burn defenses to the tune of 448 yards and three touchdowns as a change-of-pace back for the Knights. As a receiver, he caught eight passes for 294 yards and three scores. Defensively, he made 30 tackles and recorded a pick and fumble recovery.

Also: RB — Jamiere Abney, Bremerton, senior — The Bremerton senior was the anchor on offense. Like Dixon, he was another back to crack the 1,000-yard barrier, finishing 2007 with 1,091 yards and eight scores. Abney, along with backfield mate Alex Griffin, will be tough to replace for the Knights.

Also: Zane Sackett, Bainbridge, junior, DL; Ryan Cleaver, North Kitsap, senior, KR; Alex Van Deen, Kingston, junior, DL; Greg Gole, Central Kitsap, senior, OL; Larry Dixon, Olympic, sophomore, RB; Alex Schell, Klahowya, senior, DB; Chad Tester, South Kitsap, senior, QB/LB; Ross Cobb, Bainbridge, junior, RB; Jamaal Smith, North Kitsap, senior, RB; Paul Bagala, Kingston, junior, QB; Brandon Joiner, Central Kitsap, senior, DB; Garrett Brown, Olympic, junior, LB; Justin Shaputis, Klahowya, senior, LB; Matt Foxworthy, South Kitsap, senior, OL/DL; Deanzalo Thomas, Olympic, junior, DB; Matt Mehs, South Kitsap, senior, DL.

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