Sports

Saints football is all in the family for Galloways

For the first time since Pee-Wees, Bob Galloway is coaching his son, Anthony, in football. Some things haven't changed; from Pee-Wee to semi-pro the son is a star running back, and dad is still pretty hard on the youngster.

Bob, offensive coordinator for the West Sound Saints, played the game himself while young, as a running back in high school in Houston. Bob continued as a player/coach in the military, adding defensive safety to his resumé, along with continuing to run the ball on offense. He also started with Olympic College, back when the Rangers had a football program, during the 1983-84 season, but he had to hang up his cleats mid-way through the season to help at home when his mother became ill. Bob's return to football came when Anthony was 7.

"I used to go and watch them," Bob said of the local Pee-Wee program, "and they were after me to help coach."

Bob resisted at first, but he couldn't resist his son.

"He came up to me and said, 'Dad, I want to play football,'" Bob explained. "I said, 'No, you don't want to play football.' But he kept bugging me. So, I said I'd coach if they would allow me to have my son on the team."

Bob's coaching of Anthony continued after the regular practice sessions would end, with Bob running his son through extra drills.

"I wanted to make sure it was what he really wanted to do," Bob explained. "He was younger than the other guys and I didn't want him to get hit and start crying. I didn't want that kind of drama."

Instead, Anthony's career has provided lots of drama, but it's been defenders left weeping as Anthony has run over and around them at every level. He was the star in the South Kitsap backfield his senior year, but that only came about after going through his father's paces again.

When Anthony told Bob he wanted to play for the Wolves, Bob took him across the inlet on the ferry, explaining to him how he'd have to go through extra steps to make everything work. He also put Anthony through a workout in Port Orchard. It started raining during the workout and Anthony wanted to stop, but Bob wouldn't let him.

"They play football in the rain," Bob said.

Anthony continued running stairs.

Anthony also did whatever it took to make things work out, and even though he was smaller than the prototypical feature back at South, he earned the starting job his senior year.

"When he told me, 'Dad, they made me the starting running back' I said, 'That can't be,'" Bob said.

Anthony turned in a sterling season, rushing for more than 1,500 yards. A one-year stint at the College of the Redwoods followed and he is now in his second season with the Saints.

"The game speed is about the same," Anthony said, "but they hit harder."

Anthony doesn't have a problem with the speed or the toughness.

"He can cut on a dime and leave you handcuffed," said Saints coach John Corey, "and he doesn't mind running people over either."

Anthony served his time as backup last season, but he's leading the team in scoring this year, racking up four touchdowns in the first three games.

"I had to be patient," Anthony said.

Now he has to sometimes remind himself to be patient with his father's coaching as well.

"He's still real hard on me. He tries not to show any favoritism. He's real strategic. He likes to make sure everything is done right," Anthony said.

Whether Bob is hard on Anthony or not, one thing is clear, Bob is one of Anthony's biggest fans.

"He's just a joy (to coach)," Bob said. "He works so hard. I don't have to talk to him that much. He knows the game. He always goes 110 percent, and he's not afraid of anything."

Bob's instilling of a strong work ethic has blended strongly with Anthony's own drive to succeed.

"He can be his own worst enemy," Bob said. "He's so hard on himself when he makes a mistake."

Fortunately for the Saints, Anthony doesn't make many mistakes.

The goal this year is two-fold, first, to help the Saints make their way back into the playoffs, and second, to attract the attention of another college program where Anthony can take advantage of his remaining eligibility.

Anthony and the Saints (1-2) will look to attract more attention in the Northwest Football League tonight in Edmonds, as they take on the 2-1 Snohomish County Vikings at 6 p.m.

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