Bucs looking for early season momentum on the gridiron

A Kingston High running back does his best impression of John Heisman at practice Tuesday. - Tad Sooter/Staff Photo
A Kingston High running back does his best impression of John Heisman at practice Tuesday.
— image credit: Tad Sooter/Staff Photo

KINGSTON — At the onset of each new football season, expectations for the Kingston High Buccaneers are raised just a little.

The team, entering its fourth year, has yet to win more than one game in a season. But with more experience and talent than in years past, the Bucs are running out of excuses for not posting a winning record in 2010, head coach Dan Novick said.

“We should be achieving at this point in time,” Novick said. “It’s been four years now. Most people say it takes between three and five. Well, we’re right in the middle of that. This is the year we should be getting over the hump in terms of wins and losses.”

The key, Novick said, is convincing players accustomed to losing that they have the skill to make a new tradition of winning. Changing that frame of mind is not an easy task.

“The challenge for us is going to be to infuse some confidence in our guys,” Novick said. “Every now and then, we see old habits creep in. But not nearly as bad as in the past.”

Experience gained over the past three seasons helps. A core of 15 seniors and 17 juniors is all too familiar with defeat, but those players have also learned from their losses.

“Our egos are all put behind us. We’ve gotten a lot more coachable over the years,” said junior quarterback Sam Byers.

Byers, who also plays outside linebacker, is one of Kingston’s chief threats, along with receiver Tucker Bowman, tight end George Marinan, running back Lou Hecker and lineman Freddy Rodolf. Novick said although the Bucs only won one game in 2009, they were within reach of six. They lost two games by one point.

“If we play to our potential, and the other team plays to their potential, we’ll come out on top every time,” Byers said.

Novick also believes the new Olympic League setup will play to Kingston’s advantage. With North Kitsap, Port Angeles and Olympic high schools entering the 2A division, the Bucs have more local opponents and Novick expects larger crowds at home games.

“Everybody wants to play in front of a bigger crowd,” Novick said. “You have a tendency to get a little bit better effort and a little better focus out of both teams if there’s people there watching.”

The Bucs’ first test comes at home Sept. 3 against Chimacum, one of the two teams Kingston has defeated in the past. When the two teams met last year, five Buccaneer turnovers led to a 12-6 loss.

“I think we did a pretty good job of shooting ourselves in the foot in that game,” Novick said.

The outcome of the season opener could set the tone for the rest of the year.

“The most important game for us is going to be game one,” Novick said. “If we can get some confidence early, we’ll be a tough team to beat.”

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