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Gridiron greats of 2008
The 2008 All-Kitsap County (AKC) Football Team was compiled by the sports writers for the the Bremerton Patriot, the Central Kitsap Reporter, the North Kitsap Herald and the Port Orchard Independent. Candidates for the team were nominated by the writers for their respective areas. The nominees were then voted on by the writers, with the top vote-getters making the teams. Two honorable mentions were selected from each school for each sport. The team includes the best players from area schools who not only performed well individually, but played a role in the success of their team as well.
The following is the 2008 AKC Football Team.
QB — Jason Simonis, Central Kitsap, senior — The 6-foot-5-inch senior completed 97 of 169 passes for 1,703 yards, 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions this season, which included four playoff games. Simonis is an accurate passer with a strong arm and complemented running back Howie McDonald to make CK a legitimate run-pass threat.
RB — Larry Dixon, Olympic, junior — Dixon is only a junior, and coaches and fans aren’t pondering if he’ll play football at the next level, but rather where he’ll play. A Division-I recruit, Dixon rushed for 1,840 yards (7.6 per carry) on 242 carries, scoring 14 total touchdowns. He anchored the Trojans’ run-heavy offense to account for more than half the team’s total yards.
RB — Howie McDonald, Central Kitsap, senior — With the Cougars’ season extended four games by virtue of a deep postseason run, McDonald pushed his rushing total to 1,867 yards, including 22 touchdowns. Rarely is McDonald tackled one-on-one, often times dragging multiple defenders for second-effort yards. He broke out in the state preliminaries against Snohomish for 391 yards and five touchdowns to lead CK to the quarterfinals.
WR — Taylor Chisholm, North Kitsap, senior — Chisolm already looks like a college star. Magic happens when he touches the ball, leaving the defense bewildered with his aggressive style and crafty footwork. Coach Steve Frease said his enthusiasm and attitude set the tone for a successful season. Chisholm averaged 111 all-purpose yards per game. He rushed the ball 393 yards in 82 attempts for seven touchdowns and received 27 passes for 494 yards and four touchdowns.
WR — Leon La Deaux, South Kitsap, junior — The Wolves ran the ball 76 percent of the time out of their I-pro offense, but La Deaux is the primary target when they throw. The 6-foot-3-inch La Deaux, who also is a standout for the basketball and track teams, led the team in receiving yards (415), receptions (26) and touchdowns (five) in 2008. Coach D.J. Sigurdson said La Deaux has the ability to play collegiately.
WR — Dimitri Alston, Bremerton, senior — Alston was Bremerton’s leading receiver with 26 receptions, 562 receiving yards (21.6 per catch) and three touchdowns, including a 99-yarder. His big-play capability offered Bremerton’s offense an alternative to the bruising ground game, led by Kyle Kennedy.
TE — Brad Fairweather, South Kitsap, senior — This position essentially serves as a sixth offensive lineman at South Kitsap. Fairweather impressed Sigurdson by not only replacing former standout blocker Matt Foxworthy, who now wrestles at Northern Colorado, but also as a receiver when needed. He finished the season with 70 yards on five receptions.
OL — A.J. Angle, Bremerton, senior — At 6 feet, 245 pounds, Angle is a bit undersized at the offensive lineman position. But what he lacks in size, he makes up for in intangibles. Coach Nate Gillam said Angle is often overlooked, but is still one of the best linemen in the county. Also a defensive lineman, Angle anchored Bremerton on both sides of the ball.
OL — Conner Cheser, Central Kitsap, junior — The 6-foot-4-inch, 290-pound left tackle was a large reason Howie McDonald rushed for the yards he did. Not only is Cheser a powerful run-blocker, he’s a great pass-blocker, giving Simonis ample time to hit the open receiver.
OL — Brian Kuznek, South Kitsap, senior — The 6-foot-6-inch Kuznek is a prototypical-sized offensive lineman. Sigurdson noted that Kuznek led the team in “hash marks,” which are rated in several ways on offense, defense and special teams, but roughly are awarded for physical, legal hits. A three-year starter, Kuznek blocked for 1,000-yard rusher Stephen Tucker for two seasons, and helped Sean Allison and Ryan Williams combine for 1,408 yards on the ground this season.
OL — Alex VanDeen, Kingston, senior — This captain was the Bucs’ most consistent lineman on both sides of the ball and was the top reason the Bucs ran the ball more effectively this season. On defense, he finished with 31 tackles and 16 assists.
OL — Spencer Williams, Central Kitsap, junior — Offensive line coach Lyle Prouse must feel like a kid in a candy store with Williams to compliment Cheser. Williams, who is 5-foot-8, 335 pounds, defies high school size. The starting left guard gives the Cougars a left side that few defensive lines can handle, establishing one of the more consistent ground attacks in the Narrows League.
K — Zack Sampson, North Kitsap, senior — Sampson is one of, if not the best high school kickers in the state. He scored 69 total points, nailing 39 extra points for 95 percent accuracy. His average punt sailed 38 yards and his average kickoff flew 53.1 yards and averaged six balls inside the 20, usually hitting the end zone. Sampson set North’s field goal school record twice this season, smacking it in from 49 yards out.
Coach of the Year — Mark Keel, Central Kitsap — Keel engineered Central Kitsap to a third-place regular season finish in the Narrows League after a sluggish 2-3 start. The Cougars then reeled off three consecutive playoff victories, including upsets of then-No. 3 Olympia and then-No. 9 Rogers, en route to the Class 4A semifinals where they eventually lost against Issaquah, 31-13. The Cougars’ postseason run was the deepest of any CK team since 1973.
DL — Nick Boss, South Kitsap, junior — Sigurdson tries to avoid starting players on both the offensive and defensive lines to help keep them fresh. Boss was one of the few exceptions. “We try and not do that because it’s a tough double, but he made it impossible for us to keep him off the field,” Sigurdson said. “He’s got really good feet and is physical.”
DL — Brandon Durham, Central Kitsap, senior — The 6-foot-7-inch Durham, who also starts on CK’s basketball team, is strong, athletic and large. Durham finished the regular season with 30 tackles and two sacks to go with two pass breakups, disrupting opposing offenses with his height and strength.
DL — Josh Byers, North Kitsap, senior — With 40 tackles, nine and one-half of which resulted in negative yardage, to go with three and one-half sacks, Byers continually made plays for the Vikes’ defense. Frease praised Byers for his heart, intelligence and attitude.
DB — Andre Moore Jr., Klahowya, senior — With the ball in his hands, Moore is simply electric. He finished the regular season with 1,234 yards rushing, 397 yards receiving and eight touchdowns. Defensively, he posted a team-leading 80 tackles (8.9 per game) and added three interceptions. Also a kick returner, Moore was Klahowya’s most heavily used, most dangerous and most valuable player.
DB — Brett McDonald, Central Kitsap, sophomore — Brett McDonald, who is Howie McDonald’s younger brother, has one of the brightest upsides of any player in the county. With a team-best five interceptions during the regular season — he also had two in the playoffs — to go with 44 tackles, Brett McDonald is quickly emerging as a force on defense.
DB — Jared Moore, South Kitsap, senior — Moore arguably was the Wolves’ best defensive back against the pass and run. The coaching staff often moved him up when the defense played a 4-4 scheme designed to stop the run. Moore finished second on the team with 62 tackles and also had an interception.
DB — Alex Smith, North Kitsap, sophomore — One of the Vikings’ best athletes on defense, Smith had 30 tackles, seven assists, three interceptions and batted down 11 balls.
LB — Garrett Brown, Olympic, senior — Brown was the heart and soul of Olympic’s defense, which depended heavily on solid linebacking play, leading the team with 111 tackles and seven sacks. He finished with three interceptions and also spelled Dixon in the backfield on offense, piling up 477 yards and four touchdowns on 69 carries.
LB — Michael Powell, Bremerton, senior — Each time Bremerton played solid defense, Powell was the reason. With 71 tackles and 25 assists, he was the Knights’ most active defender. He also added four sacks. Another player who saw action on both sides of the ball, Powell scored five offensive touchdowns.
LB — Richie Meier, Central Kitsap, senior — Meier was CK’s vocal leader on defense. He accumulated 99 tackles — 10 for negative yardage — and forced four fumbles to give the Cougars’ linebacker corps both spirit and physical play.
LB — T.J. Rhodes, South Kitsap, senior — Rhodes replaced graduated Josh Burlingame at middle linebacker and led the team with 73 tackles.
Bremerton honorable mentions
KR — Theo Robinson, senior — Robinson offered the Knights a spark on special teams with 25 kickoff returns for 608 yards (24.3 per return) and two touchdowns. His season-long was a 95-yarder.
RB — Kyle Kennedy, senior — Bremerton threw the ball more so than in previous years, but Kennedy was a workhorse with 801 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
RB — Sean Allison, South Kitsap, senior
WR/DB — Cameron Anthony, Central Kitsap, senior
TE — Ian Brown, Kingston, senior
RB/LB — Brad Deshano, North Kitsap, senior
LB — Shane Galeski, Olympic, senior
RB — Cody Hertenstein, Klahowya, senior
OL — Jeff Hill, Olympic, senior
RB/KR — H’Arion Gaulden, Central Kitsap, senior
DB — Darrell Newman, Klahowya, senior
LB — Nollan Quinn, Olympic, senior
LB/DE — Freddy Rodolf, Kingston, sophomore
RB/LB — Travis Schriner, Kingston, junior
QB — Kevin Stringer, North Kitsap, senior
TE — Evan Tidball, North Kitsap, senior
WR — Christian Wesley, Central Kitsap, junior
RB — Ryan Williams, South Kitsap, senior
LB — Dan Zimny, Klahowya, senior