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Playoffs the expectation, again, for Central Kitsap High School football team
Seeking advice for his senior season, quarterback Brett McDonald didn’t have far to look.
Not with older brother and former Central Kitsap High School star Howard McDonald a phone call away.
The older sibling’s first tip?
“To go one step farther than he did,” Brett McDonald said. “To not lose in the semifinals, and get that state championship.”
It’s been two years since the Central Kitsap football team reached the Class 4A state semifinals behind the efforts of former star running back Howard McDonald, a 2009 grad who now plays at Eastern Oregon University.
Howard McDonald was a team captain and the Cougars’ leading contributor on offense when the team posted its best finish in school history. He also was a key defensive player at linebacker.
Now, with the 2010 season-opener a week away, young Brett is in a similar role.
To reach the playoffs for the fourth time in as many seasons – and have any chance at moving beyond the state semifinals – the Cougars will need an MVP-type season from their senior quarterback and free safety.
“I want to be remembered as a winner,” said Brett McDonald, who as the starting quarterback last season tossed 10 touchdowns but also threw 10 interceptions. “I want our team to succeed, and it’s my job as quarterback to help us win.”
As the focal point of Central Kitsap’s shotgun spread offense, Brett McDonald will get plenty of chances.
Coach Mark Keel said Tuesday that his quarterback is getting more comfortable in the offensive system after learning it in 2009, when the Cougars finished with a 9-4 record and advanced to the state quarterfinals.
An area of emphasis for Brett McDonald through the first week of practice has been on making better reads out of the spread attack, which on most plays gives the quarterback the option to run, hand off to a running back or pull up for a pass downfield.
“His confidence is up,” Keel said.
Although Central Kitsap lost its top wide receiver in Christian Wesley, who now plays at Central Washington University, the team returns some talent on offense.
Joining Brett McDonald in the backfield will be running backs Devon Lewis and Devin Dozier, and the team’s top receivers are Brandon Bynum, Andre Wesley and Maurice Brown.
Throw in a trio of incoming receivers who have performed well during preseason practices, and the pieces are in place for another winning season.
“Everyone just needs to work hard and keep their focus on football and only football while we are out here,” Lewis said. “Just give it your all and I’m sure we will be good.”
But when the Cougars visit Eastlake High School for the season-opener Sept. 3, there will be two noticeable absences on the offensive line.
Conner Chesser and Spencer Williams, all-leaguers who anchored the line for the past three seasons, both graduated in June. Chesser and Williams weighed a combined 600 pounds and were two of the most dominant linemen in the Narrows League between 2008 and 2010.
Expect a faster, more agile offensive line in 2009.
“We’re going to be more versatile in our play calling,” Keel said, adding that last season the team ran most of its plays in the direction of Williams and Chesser.
Defense, meanwhile, has been one of Central Kitsap’s strengths the past few years and Keel expects more of that in 2010.
The team registered four shutouts en route to the playoffs after a 2-3 start last season.
Dakota Meadows, Jake Brouker, Lewis and Brett McDonald will lead the defensive unit. McDonald finished with a team-high six interceptions and four forced fumbles to go with 43 tackles in 2009.
And all four were members of the Howard McDonald-led 2008 state semifinals team.
Sept. 3 *at Eastlake 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 10 *at Olympic 7 p.m.
Sept. 17 Shelton 5 p.m.
Sept. 24 at Olympia 7 p.m.
Oct. 1 Bellarmine Prep 5 p.m.
Oct. 8 at Gig Harbor 7 p.m.
Oct. 15 at Stadium 7 p.m.
Oct. 22 **Mount Tahoma 7 p.m.
Oct. 29 South Kitsap 7:30 p.m.
All home games played at Silverdale Stadium