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Back on the gridiron
NORTH KITSAP — During summer vacation, the stadiums at both high schools in the North Kitsap School District remain relatively quiet, save for a few sports camps.
On Wednesday, that quiet was broken as hordes of students stormed on to their respective fields with red and crimson or purple and white jerseys. The 2011-12 prep football preseason has begun.
Along with a group of new players, the North Kitsap Vikings added a new head coach to their roster.
Jeff Weible, also the head baseball coach, will lead the Vikings this season. He began coaching football right after he graduated in 1989.
Weible will be backed by 16 other coaches. His goal for the season is to make sure everyone feels they have a place on a team — C-team, junior varsity or varsity — and for each team to be self-reliant. This will be done by giving each team enough players and not having to bring JV players, for example, up to the varsity team. About 91 players showed up for the first practice and Weible expects at least 15-20 more to show up in the next few days. His goal is to have about 120 players, he said.
Instilling enthusiasm for the game is also a must.
“These kids are going to be as motivated as we are,” Weible said. “We want kids that want to be out there enjoying it ... If you’re not having fun in this game, then you shouldn’t be playing it.”
The Viking coaches agreed it was up to them to create the enthusiasm. But creating that enthusiasm takes a toll.
“(The coaches) were all sore this morning and our voices are hoarse,” Weible said the morning after the team’s first practice.
For the varsity team, Weible said about seven students will return for the offense and the same for defense.
In the next few weeks, Weible wants the team to understand as many plays as possible, and to understand them well. He said he would rather the team execute six plays without thinking about it, than struggle with 12 plays.
The Vikings ended the 2010-11 season with a record of 1-6 league, 1-9 overall.
The Vikings travel to Bainbridge High School to play in a non-league game Sept. 2 at 7 p.m.
The Kingston High School Buccaneers return from the most successful season in program history after going to the postseason in 2010-11.
Head coach Dan Novick wants to make it known this is a new year and a new team.
“We could potentially fall short if we continue with the idea that this is the same team as last year,” Novick said.
The team needs to establish its own identity, but keeping a tradition of a successful season is certainly something he would like to see the team do, Novick said.
About 70 students showed up for the first day of practice, a similar number to previous seasons. Though fewer than that of the rival Vikings this year, it’s a better turnout than last year’s 50.
Many of the students who showed up for practice on Wednesday had previous experience. Those who played in middle school, for example, just “need to knock off some rust,” Novick said.
After making it to postseason, where the Bucs were eliminated in the first round by the Lindbergh High School Eagles 41-20, Novick said the coaches left understanding two things more: hard work and patience pay off. Taking more time in the weight room and getting the students to believe they are strong and fast enough to compete is what can make the difference, he said.
“I don’t feel like our kids are uneasy,” Novick said after the first day of practice. “Nobody is on the brink of panic.”
Novick would like the team to get an early momentum and keep it throughout the season. At the same time, the team will showcase different talents, with less emphasis on the running game, he said.
The Bucs ended the 2010-11 season 5-2 league, 6-4 overall.
The Bucs travel to Chimacum High School to play in a non-league game Sept. 2 at 7 p.m.