Sports

Falcon football takes flight under Tormey

South Whidbey Falcon football assistant coach Alex Heilig gathers players after a recent optional conditioning day before Aug. 20, the official start of high school football season.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
South Whidbey Falcon football assistant coach Alex Heilig gathers players after a recent optional conditioning day before Aug. 20, the official start of high school football season.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

The first days of South Whidbey Falcon football under new coach Chris Tormey are in the books.

Despite being new to the Falcon program and even to leading high school sports, Tormey is far from a novice. Over the past few decades, he has been an assistant for legendary University of Washington coach Don James and a head coach at the University of Idaho and Nevada, among other professional coaching jobs at Hawaii, Washington State and Wyoming.

Early on after being hired in June, Tormey found the high school job to be different from the world of NCAA Division I athletics.

“It’s been a lot of fun, a real refresher for me,” he said.

“At the college level, you just show up and coach. Meet with the players and get to the field,” he added.

Falcon football season opened, along with all of Washington state, on Wednesday. South Whidbey has less than two weeks to prepare for its first game, a continuation of its island rivalry against Coupeville, despite the Wolves’ departure to a different league.

Until then — Sept. 5 — the Falcons are busy getting into shape or, for some, further chiseling their physique into game-ready form.

Facing a new coach, a new system and a new set of players stepping into vital positions, the Falcons are taking their time before jumping into play drills. Tormey said much of the knowledge has already been shared with players during spring practices in June and at optional conditioning sessions this summer.

“I’ve really been pleased with the preparation,” Tormey said of the 45 or so players who showed up for the first few days of practice. He expects to have a program of about 50 Falcons by the first game of the season.

Under Tormey, the Falcons are keeping their long-held saying and attitude of Ohana, the Hawaiian word for family. He’s expanded it to a simple two-word saying that every blue-and-white faithful can understand: Falcon pride.

Trying to build the family bond, Tormey is taking the team some 25 miles north to Central Whidbey for an overnight stay at Camp Casey. The time, said Tormey, will be used for more workouts, team bonding, individual goal setting and leadership development.

“We don’t have anything radically different in terms of the theme. We can rely on the tradition.”

 

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