Puyallup: Sports

Puyallup’s Holcomb hopes gift of big-bodied receivers translates to wins

Puyallup High receiver Tallon Yerbury, left, lines up during practice at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup. Targets such as Yearbury (6-foot-2), Darius Morrison (6-foot-3) and Landen Neff (6-foot-2) are being added to quarterback Nathaniel Holcomb’s favorite target, Noah McFadden (5-foot-10). Already bursting at the seams with big-bodied receivers, Puyallup has the ability to add one more after Gavin Dunasky and his 6-foot-6 frame get more reps with the offense.
Puyallup High receiver Tallon Yerbury, left, lines up during practice at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup. Targets such as Yearbury (6-foot-2), Darius Morrison (6-foot-3) and Landen Neff (6-foot-2) are being added to quarterback Nathaniel Holcomb’s favorite target, Noah McFadden (5-foot-10). Already bursting at the seams with big-bodied receivers, Puyallup has the ability to add one more after Gavin Dunasky and his 6-foot-6 frame get more reps with the offense. jbessex@gateline.com

Puyallup High quarterback Nathaniel Holcomb is being spoiled in his senior season with the Vikings football team.

After years of throwing it to “little guys,” Holcomb’s receivers have finally grown up. The Vikings’ play caller now has a cadre of tall targets to choose from.

“Our whole (set of) starting receivers are just ready to go,” Holcomb said. “We’ve thrown so much in the off-season. (I believe) our passing game will be sick.”

Not to diminish the success Tyler Torgerson or Brady Winter had for Holcomb over the quarterback’s first couple of seasons with the Vikings, but the bottom line is both lacked height.

“Since I’ve been at Puyallup, all across the board, this is best group I’ve had,” Holcomb said of his receiving corps. “The thing that will surprise people is how good their hands are. I trust every one of them to go up and fight, and catch it if I throw it to them.”

Targets such as Tallon Yearbury (6-foot-2), Darius Morrison (6-foot-3) and Landen Neff (6-foot-2) are being added to Holcomb’s favorite target, Noah McFadden (5-foot-10). Already bursting at the seams with big-bodied receivers, Puyallup has the ability to add one more after Gavin Dunasky and his 6-foot-6 frame get more reps with the offense.

Since I’ve been at Puyallup, all across the board, this is best group I’ve had. The thing that will surprise people is how good their hands are. I trust every one of them to go up and fight, and catch it if I throw it to them.

Nathaniel Holcomb

“We really have five to seven guys listed over 6 feet that we feel confident lining up at receiver,” Puyallup coach Gary Jeffers said. “This is the tallest and deepest wide receiving group I’ve had. It’s going to be fun seeing them go up and get the football each week.”

Said Yearbury: “We all run good routes, and we all have good hands,”

Throughout the offseason, the Vikings quarterback and his stable of receivers went to work trying to get over that hump.

All it took for Puyallup to reach the playoffs last season was one additional win. One close loss going the other way would have made the difference, but Puyallup instead tied with Curtis and Bethel when it came to overall record (5-4). Those other teams made the regional round; Puyallup did not.

“(Holcomb) holds us accountable for when we mess up, because he expects more from us. It’s for the best for us (receivers),” Neff said. “This year it’s different. We’re a team, we’re a family and we don’t give up.”

(Holcomb) holds us accountable for when we mess up, because he expects more from us. It’s for the best for us (receivers). This year it’s different. We’re a team, we’re a family and we don’t give up.

Landen Neff

Holcomb was hurt for a few of those losses, leaving the senior wondering if things would have turned out differently had he been in there. Could he have made a difference?

“We’re all really hungry, and we’re not going to be scared who we’re facing,” Holcomb said. “People are going to be surprised by how hungry we are — both offensively and defensively.”

The past is the past for the senior quarterback. Now is the time for him and his air attack to take on the South Puget Sound League and finally grab that elusive Class 4A playoff spot.

Puyallup opens the season with a grudge match against Curtis on Friday (Sept. 2) at Sparks Stadium, nearly 11 months after winning a 40-37 thriller against the visitors from University Place in overtime.

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