Eagles hope summer sweat pays dividends on fall football fields

Klahowya senior Roy Lee looks to repeat as the leading yardage gainer in the Nisqually League.  - Photo by Sean Lamphere
Klahowya senior Roy Lee looks to repeat as the leading yardage gainer in the Nisqually League.
— image credit: Photo by Sean Lamphere

The roller-coaster ride of prep sports means plenty of ups and downs, success and failure.

In 2000, Klahowya’s football team was soaring high and played in the state 2A tournament. A year later the pendulum swung back as the Eagles posted a disappointing 1-8 record as their young defense gave up a league-high 301 points.

This season a veteran squad has high hopes for gridiron success after spending their summer in the weight room and impromptu practices on the field in preparation for Friday’s game at Foster and the rest of the season to come.

“We were a junior team last year,” coach Brad Hamblet said. “This year we’re senior dominated and there’s a good junior class that will push to be on the field. We expect to have another good year.”

“We know what it takes to win and lose,” said senior quarterback Jared Ottmar, returning to helm the offense for his second year. “We’ve done all we can to get ready for the season and now it’s just backing it up.”

But the road to the top of the Nisqually League isn’t easy. Vashon, Orting, Steilacoom and Eatonville also look to bring strong teams back.

“It’s going to be a fight for the top two (playoff) berths and I plan on being in that fight,” Hamblet said.

Hamblet has changed things around on defense. He’s dropped the 3-4 defense for the front-line stronger 4-4 that should cut down on opposing team’s scoring.

“The players like this better because it gives them more opportunities to get into the game flow,” Hamblet said. “It gives more opportunities for linebackers to make more plays so they really like it.”

Don’t look for many changes in the offense.

“Our running game is still our bread and butter,” Ottmar said.

Handling keeping the ball on the ground is senior running back Roy Lee who led the league in all-purpose yardage last season.

But Lee will get help from a stronger, wiser Ottmar and a strong receiving corps.

“We’ve got a good group of receivers and he (Ottmar) has the confidence to throw to any one of them,” Lee said.

Despite last year’s record, interest in the team is at an all-time high with 44 players turning out.

“It’s our best numbers in my four years here,” Hamblet said.

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