Sports

Prouse hopes to help Eagles soar

First-year Klahowya football coach Lyle Prouse gives instructions during the Eagles morning practice Thursday. The team opens the 2009 season Sept. 4 against Bremerton. - Wesley Remmer/staff photo
First-year Klahowya football coach Lyle Prouse gives instructions during the Eagles morning practice Thursday. The team opens the 2009 season Sept. 4 against Bremerton.
— image credit: Wesley Remmer/staff photo

Lyle Prouse’s coaching career began, in essence, at a friend’s Christmas party some eight years back.

At one point during the party, Prouse remembers, those in attendance who were football coaches at the time began sharing stories and discussing game plans. A football player himself at Bremerton High School, where he graduated in 1980, and at both Olympic College and Portland State University, Prouse pondered the possibility of coaching.

After all, he loved the game, understood the game and missed the game.

“They got to talking about their seasons and the kids,” Prouse said from the sidelines of Klahowya’s practice field Thursday. “I just felt like, ‘Boy, I’m missing out on something here.’”

So he made a few phone calls and was able to land a coaching job at Central Kitsap Junior High. He coached one season at CKJH, then joined Mark Keel’s staff at Central Kitsap High School, where he coached six seasons.

When former KSS coach Brad Hamblet resigned following the 2008 season, Prouse interviewed for the job and got it.

Now he’s the Eagles’ new man.

“When they offered it to me, I grabbed it,” Prouse said. “The motivation for me is to come here and develop this program ... I’m totally focused on Klahowya football, getting us better and making us a better football team.”

With just 37 players turning out for the team, Prouse has plenty of work to do before the Eagles open the season at home Sept. 4 against Bremerton, which finished the 2008 campaign with a 2-8 record.

Prouse has installed a new offense, replacing Hamblet’s run-heavy Wing-T with a variation of the West Coast. The Eagles will use motion to set up personnel advantages, throw the ball more and turn to a zone rushing game, although Prouse said there also will be some Wing-T-esque running plays as well.

“I think the biggest thing is we’re going to be a lot more varied as far as formations,” Prouse said. “We’re going to throw the ball a little more than they have here (in the past).”

The starting quarterback has yet to be determined, but the job will go to either Seth Green or Nick Duby, both of whom are seniors. Duby put in more work than Green during the spring because Green was busy with baseball, but Prouse said Green has had a solid fall and is in position to fight for the job.

“Seth has really picked it up, and, to his credit, is truly challenging Nick for the starting spot,” Prouse said, adding the competition has been healthy because it’s forced both players to pick up their game.

Sam Harris and Jeremy Beierle, “a nice one-two punch,” will split duties at fullback, with Beierle backing up Mikey Swain at tailback. The Eagles’ top two receivers are Kevin Schiffman and Ely Monette.

“I think we have a good mix of talent at all the positions,” Prouse said.

Defensively, the Eagles will sport a 3-3-stack, the same defense the team ran last year and also the same formation Prouse learned at CK. KSS lost 16 seniors from last year’s squad and had just 37 total players turn out this year, meaning many of the players will play both offense and defense. Beierle, Monette and Harris are scheduled to start at linebacker.

“I’m not going to have the luxury of giving our guys blows,” Prouse said, referring to the thinness on the roster. “We’re just going to have to get the best athletes on the field in all phases of the game.”

Prouse, who coached offensive and defensive line as well as special teams at CK, said he expects to win games this season and wants his team to compete for 60 minutes.

“Win, lose or draw, when we walk of the field I want the other team to say, ‘Gosh, I’m glad we only have to play Klahowya once a year,’” he said. “I have expectations to win. I didn’t come here just to show up and play the games. I want to win football games, and I want the kids to think that way too.”

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