Sports

Bremerton football springs into action

Bremerton coaches instruct players on how to run the team’s plays during Saturday’s spring scrimmage at Memorial Stadium. The Knights, under coach Nate Gillam, are hoping this is the season they turn it around in the Olympic League. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Bremerton coaches instruct players on how to run the team’s plays during Saturday’s spring scrimmage at Memorial Stadium. The Knights, under coach Nate Gillam, are hoping this is the season they turn it around in the Olympic League.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

It was more than just a week’s worth of spring drills that culminated with a scrimmage last Saturday. It was a public display of commitment on the part of the Bremerton High School football players and coaches. Approximately 70 players in the high school program took part in the spring training and the public was invited to the scrimmage to see what’s ahead for the team.

“It was a community event,” said coach Nate Gillam. “We are THE Bremerton High School. We are Bremerton’s team and we wanted people to be able to come out and support us and see what we’ve got going on.”

What the team has going on looks to be continued improvement, Gillam said.

“I thought it went pretty well,” he said of the spring practice. “It was real controlled. We wanted to teach a lot more basics, more like a camp atmosphere. The kids were a little further along than we thought they’d be, so we were pleased.”

Also encouraging is the returning core.

Jamiere Abney and Alex Griffin will be returning to the backfield, bringing speed and strength. Abney was the second-leading rusher in terms of yardage last season, going for 776 yards, but he was the leader in yards per carry among the main group of ball carriers, averaging 6.3 yards per try. Abney was also the second-leading receiver, pulling in 13 receptions in 2006. Griffin, an all-state sprinter on the track team, will probably be able to get more carries this year as well, since Jacob Belden looks to take over at quarterback where Griffin had to fill in last year.

John Wittenburg, a senior, will be the anchor on the offensive line, and AJ Angle will become a force as the new center.

Gillam is entering his third season as head coach of the Knights. The team broke into the win column last year with a 21-14 victory over Klahowya, the first Bremerton win since November of 2003. The team’s scoring was up more than 400 percent from Gillam’s first season.

Gillam expects Don Lahnam to return to work with the offensive line, this time as a paid position after two years as a volunteer, and Jeff Sawicki will join the staff working with the linemen as well. In other coaching shifts, Joe Whitsett will lead the ninth-grade team, with Bob Presley assisting.

“We keep working on being more competitive,” Gillam said. “The wins will come eventually.”

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