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Knights look to continue football resurgence
It might sound strange associated with high school football, but the marketing plan is working. The plan calls for more wins this season, and more butts in the stands. Master marketer and coach Nate Gillam expects the Bremerton Knights football team to come through on both counts.
Last season, in Gillams second year at the controls, the team broke a 19-game losing streak with an opening weekend win against Klahowya, but then lost its first- and second-string quarterbacks. Despite the devastating blow, the offense managed to increase its scoring by more than 400 percent from the 2005 season. Going from a 50-point season to 220 points was part of that plan.
We focused more on offense, Gillam said. My goal was to get more people to come see Bremerton football, and people like to see scoring. The program was on life support when I took over, if not ready to pull the plug. This year well put more emphasis on defense. I think were going to win more games this year. Im pretty much a realist, and I dont think we were a 1-9 team last year. Without the injuries, we were better than that. I think were going to prove that. The kids bounced back, they never gave up. Physically, we can play with anybody in our league. Its just a mental thing. Its a matter of getting the kids to believe.
The running game is one of the best reasons to believe, led by co-captain Jamiere Abney. Abney was a first team All-Olympic League running back last year, racking up more than 1,000 all-purpose yards. Abney will be joined by speedster Alex Griffin, who will get back to the wing spot after having to fill in as the emergency quarterback last year.
The new quarterback will be Jacob Belden, a 6-foot, 4-inch, 185-pound junior who put in a solid season last year on the JV team.
Hes coming along with his footwork and his arm, Gillam said. I think hell do fine.
Junior Chris Fleming and senior Jon Hurley look to be the primary receivers.
The offensive line is mostly new, but bigger and stronger than last seasons squad. AJ Angle, a 230-pound junior center anchors the line, flanked by Ryan Poshusta (220, senior) and John Wittenberg (290, senior) at the guard spots. The tackles are Dan Rahm (200, junior) and Robert Cooper (225, senior). Richard Kendrick (6-1, 180, senior) adds his blocking ability as the tight end, but hes also a solid option as a receiver.
The defense is also led by a returning all-league first teamer, co-captain Chris Martindale. Martindale (6-0, 190, senior) runs the defense from his middle linebacker spot.
Hes worked really hard in the off-season to get stronger, Gillam said. Hes aggressive, but the thing I like best about him is hes smart. Hes also a real fireplug, he gets the team motivated.
David Osborne (5-10, 185, senior) will join Martindale as a linebacker and Michael Powell (6-2, 205, junior) will play linebacker and on the defensive line.
One of last seasons Outstanding Lineman in team voting, Zach Dudoit (6-2, 205, senior) will lead the defensive line. Joe Quinones (6-3, 320, senior), Brad Coombe (5-10, 190, senior) and Courtney Stone (5-10, 250, junior) look to add stopping power to the defense as well.
Jamaree Wells (5-6, 160, senior), who went to state in the sprint relay with Griffin last track season, returns to the defensive secondary and newcomer Billy Davenport (5-10, 150, sophomore) should help shut down opponents receivers.
Our defense will be better this year, Gillam said. Were going to focus more on defense in practices this season, and we have some better athletes in there as well.
Bremerton opened the season last night against Klahowya at Silverdale Stadium and hosts Bainbridge Island next Friday at 7 p.m. The Knights topped Klahowya 21-14 in last years season opener, the teams lone victory.
See Wednesdays Central Kitsap Reporter for Fridays recap.