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Offense may take to the air with savvy seniors | FALCON FALL SPORTS PREVIEW
Falcon fans, look to the sky for offensive fireworks this season.
Things have fallen into place for the South Whidbey High School football team to take flight. Riding the experience of senior quarterback Nick French, senior running back Cooper Nichols and senior receivers Nick Bennett, Kale Reichersamer and Jordan Parrick, South Whidbey hopes to vie for a Cascade Conference regular season title and a state tournament berth.
“They’re expecting a lot out of us this year,” Reichersamer said of the Falcon coaching staff, led by co-head coaches Andy Davis and Mark Hodson.
Crowns are earned, however, not given in the Cascade Conference. For years, 2A powerhouses Archbishop Murphy, Cedarcrest and Lakewood have reigned atop the conference standings. In the mix the past few seasons is 1A King’s, South Whidbey’s toughest test to qualify for the 1A district playoffs.
“They’re always in our sights,” Parrick said. “We don’t take [those games] off at all.”
“I feel like it’s up for grabs,” added Reichersamer.
Last season, South Whidbey finished fifth in the eight-team league. The Falcons scratched out a 4-6 record with a non-league, non-playoff 48-13 win against Vashon Island.
Keeping South Whidbey from finishing with a .500 record was an 18-13 loss to island rival Coupeville on South Whidbey’s home field three weeks earlier.
“It was tough watching from the sideline,” said Reichersamer, who was injured in the second game of the season and sat out the rest of the year.
The Wolves took home the coveted bucket, a long tradition on Whidbey. South Whidbey’s seniors have their eyes on bringing the bucket back to Waterman’s Field this season after a late-season game up Highway 525.
South Whidbey entered last year’s game ill-prepared mentally, Parrick said. Once Coupeville took the lead, the Falcons were “shocked,” and never recovered. That game was telling of last season’s team and several other past South Whidbey teams — squads that started the game flat and tried to rebound after halftime.
Things will be different this year, according to team leaders, as South Whidbey hopes to “pack a punch” in the first possession of each game.
“No one took Coupeville seriously,” Parrick said. “Obviously, this year we will.”
Chelan was the first test of the 2013 season. South Whidbey began a series with the Chelan Goats last year with a visit east, yielding a 28-15 Falcon win. It was the debut of a fast-paced offense by South Whidbey, one that worked effectively.
The Falcons hope to capitalize on a similar style of uptempo plays, getting the ball into the hands of skilled players quickly. Conditioning will play a major part in the team’s ability to gain new sets of downs and tiring defense. At the end of a trading-possession game, spring practices, summer workouts and the early season beach days will come in handy.
“A lot of it is mental toughness,” Parrick said.
Last season, South Whidbey averaged 23.4 points per game, the fifth most. But, the Falcons allowed 29.3 per game, the fourth-least in the conference. Chewing up time of possession was not part of South Whidbey’s game plan. Although it used two running backs last year, including Nichols, South Whidbey was built to highlight its playmakers with short, quick passes and tosses. Relying on Nichols, more of a speedy back than a bruiser, could mean more catches for the senior.