Sports

Falcons prepare for first game against North Mason

Blue team quarterback Hunter Rawls scrambles around the white team defense Saturday. The scrimmage, officially the Toilet Bowl, helps Falcon coaches see who
Blue team quarterback Hunter Rawls scrambles around the white team defense Saturday. The scrimmage, officially the Toilet Bowl, helps Falcon coaches see who's got what it takes to be a starter on this year's team.
— image credit: Jeff VanDerford

LANGLEY — Officially, it’s called the Toilet Bowl. And the Falcons’ first scrimmage of the season served its purpose by flushing out some hidden gems and unexpected stars.

Last Saturday, the Falcon football team held a team scrimmage between the blue and the white in front of several dozen fans as they readied for their first home game. It’s at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31 at Waterman Field against North Mason.

Half the Falcons’ starters played on each side.

“The coaches had a draft last week to pick the players, mixing us up,” senior Kyle Hoch said. “I quarterbacked the white team, Hunter (Rawls) the blue. We’re trying to put together the best 11 guys we can because we have lots of talent this season.”

The white team won 49-37 but that wasn’t the point.

“The score demonstrated a relative balance between both squads,” Falcon Coach Mark Hodson said. “We got to see how everyone responded to what they’ve been practicing the last two weeks.”

Hodson said the boys executed well, showed good discipline and, most important, were enthusiastic.

Early in the game, sophomore tailback Jon Poolman, who played on junior varsity last year, showed blinding speed as he took a quick pitch from Rawls and stayed on the edge for a touchdown.

Poolman was a key member of last spring’s boys track team and Hodson plans to put his speed to good use.

There were other standouts as well. Running backs Levi Sawyers and Danny Zuver deftly grabbed handoffs from Hoch and Rawls and crushed through the line. Repeatedly.

Last year, South Whidbey lost 17-8 to the North Mason Bulldogs and Hodson knows who to blame.

“It was all my fault; we weren’t ready and that’s why the Toilet Bowl was so important,” he said. “But there’s been a huge improvement by staff and players from last season.”

So who will run the offense this year? “Kyle is our best leader and he’s a senior,” Hodson noted. “But a lot depends on whatever the situation is on the field in any given quarter.”

Rawls is realistic.

“I have two more years to go,” he said. “I’m just glad I was able to scramble for a TD on a broken play and show the coaches I can run and score. Quarterbacks need to think on their feet.

“We’re so much better, the game showed that,” he said. “We’re confident we are going to look good Friday under the lights.”

That confidence seems to be casting its spell over everyone.

“Everything is better,” Hoch said.

“The talk inside and outside the team has been upbeat and positive since we started. The best part of Saturday for me was watching the varsity guys competing at a higher level,” he said.

Hoch knows that he and Rawls will be playing hard the first two games before league starts on Friday, Sept. 14 at home against Lakewood. “The coaches will take a long look at everyone for quality of game play, speed, endurance, accuracy — all of it.”

Last year the Falcons went 3-7 and North Mason was the reverse at 7-3. But based on Saturday’s performances, North Mason will have a battle on its hands Friday.

Hoch, Rawls, Sawyers, Zuver and every member of the team can’t wait — they just want to get on the field and play.

Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or sports@southwhidbeyrecord.com.

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