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Olympic High School football team begins life after Larry Dixon
Establish an identity.
That’s the first item of business for the Olympic High School football team as it prepares for its 2010 season opener against Fife High School Sept. 3.
Not only did the Trojans lose 26 seniors to graduation, but they will be without the player who carried them to the playoffs each of the past three seasons.
For the first time since 2007, Olympic’s backfield won’t include workhorse running back Larry Dixon. He will play for the United States Military Academy this season after breaking Olympic’s all-time career rushing mark in 2009.
“It definitely changes the mindset of everybody,” coach Tim Allbee said of losing Dixon, who scored 26 touchdowns in 2009. “We are searching for something, for somebody to step up.”
That somebody might be senior transfer quarterback Willie Kudera, who in July moved to Bremerton from California.
Kudera was a three-year starter at Cornerstone Christian School in Roseville, Calif., where he threw 25 touchdown passes his sophomore season and led the team to the state semifinals as a junior.
“He’s got it all,” Allbee said. “He can run, pass, roll out, drop back. He’s a very athletic kid and he has a great football mind.”
But Cornerstone, a private school with a student-body of less than 100, competes in 8-man football rather than standard 11-on-11.
Similar to arena football, 8-man is played at a fast pace.
Kudera doesn’t anticipate any problems making the shift.
“Everything seems a little slower, but I’m feeling good,” he said.
Despite the arrival of what appears to be a solid quarterback, and the departure of the most accomplished running back in school history, Allbee said the Trojans won’t deviate from the run.
“I think the buzz word should be ‘balanced,’” Allbee said, referring to the game plan on offense. “Even though Larry is gone, the running attack will always be a staple of the Trojan football program.”
Exactly who will fills the shoes of Dixon remains unclear, but Allbee has a few choices.
There is sophomore Ben Long, a sturdy back who went down with a knee injury on the first day of practice. It could be Shawn Brown, who saw limited playing time a year ago. Randy Grier, a sophomore, is also in the mix.
“It’s going to be running back by committee until someone emerges,” Allbee said. “We’re still waiting for that to happen.”
Sept. 3 *at Fife 7 p.m.
Sept. 10 *Central Kitsap 7 p.m.
Sept. 17 Kingston 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 24 at North Mason 7 p.m.
Oct. 1 at Port Angeles 7 p.m.
Oct. 8 **North Kitsap 7 p.m.
Oct. 15 at Sequim 7 p.m.
Oct. 23 Bremerton 5 p.m.
Oct. 29 at Klahowya 5 p.m.
All home games played at Silverdale Stadium