High School Sports

Eatonville’s road back to state starts with learning each other’s names

Last season was so successful, the Eatonville High School football team won the 1A Evergreen Conference title and went on to play in the state semifinals for the first time since 1997, only losing to eventual state champion Cascade Christian.

This year, the Cruisers are just trying to learn everybody’s names.

"We start with little things, like learn everyone’s name," head coach George Fairhart said. "We have to come together as a team. The upperclassmen have to learn the freshmen’s names."

Some of the easiest names so far have been Jacob McCormick, Josh Miller and Logan Moose. McCormick was a first-team all-league quarterback as a junior last season, Miller a first-team offensive lineman and Moose a first-team all-league linebacker.

Eatonville enters the season ranked seventh in the 1A classification despite losing league MVP George Tomal and co-defensive players of the year Justin Kaelin and John Warner to graduation. But this group isn’t thinking too far ahead.

"We start with little goals to build up to our bigger goals," Moose, a running back and defensive end said. "One of those little goals is learning everyone’s names."

McCormick and Moose say that they can name everyone. Which is saying something, considering names on the roster such as Teddie Bushey, Zach Vandersluis and Trevor Rangamar. Or how about Wade Wikander, Rulon Enwiller or Tristan Schoepf?

"We spend 15 to 20 minutes each practice on learning names," McCormick said. "It’s really important at this point."

McCormick, who enters his third year as the Cruisers’ starter, threw for 1,147 yards and 12 touchdowns last season.

"Of course we want to win the league and go to state," McCormick said while Moose nodded in agreement. "But we want to take it one game at a time and finish games as strong as we can."

Last season Moose was one of three running backs in Eatonville’s stable with at least 550 rushing yards, gaining 582 yards and 10 touchdowns. He’ll be a featured back again on this year’s team, but not the only one.

"We don’t have big stats," Fairhart said. "Moose will be a standout, but we’ll rotate guys at running back."

The News Tribune will visit 17 high school football practices in the 14 days leading up to the first Football Friday of the season, breaking down some of the teams, players and storylines entering the 2015-16 season.

The tour will include three schools from the 4A Narrows League, four teams from the 4A SPSL, two from the 3A Narrows League, two from the 3A SPSL, one from the 2A Evergreen Conference, two from the 2A SPSL, one from the 1A Evergreen, one from the 1A Nisqually and one from the 2B Pacific.

Teams will be revealed each day, starting with the first day of official practices Wednesday, Aug. 19.

TNT PRESEASON PRACTICE TOUR

Practice preview: South Sound’s four most illustrious 4A schools enter new eras

Aug. 19: Timberline Blazers

Lincoln Abes | Video: Masaki Matsumoto on a mission

River Ridge Hawks

Chief Leschi Warriors

Aug. 20: Bonney Lake Panthers | Video: Panthers have pieces in place

Aug. 21: Federal Way Eagles | Video: D’Jimon Jones, Andrzej Hughes-Murray stepping up

Aug. 22: Kentlake Falcons

Aug. 24: Spanaway Lake Sentinels | Video: Big guys key for Sentinels’ season

Aug. 25: Emerald Ridge Jaguars | Video: Can new players bring ER similar success?

Aug. 26: Black Hills Wolves

Aug. 27: Stadium Tigers | Video: Don’t expect same 0-10 Tigers

Aug. 28: Yelm Tornados

Aug. 29: Clover Park Warriors

Aug. 31: Mount Tahoma Thunderbirds

Sept. 1: Eatonville Cruisers

Sept. 2: Charles Wright Tarriers

Sept. 3: Sumner Spartans

Sept. 4: First Football Friday of the 2015-16 school year

LEAGUE FOOTBALL PREVIEWS

In-depth look at some of the top storylines, team-by-team breakdown, games to watch and predictions from the 4A Narrows, 4A SPSL, 3A Narrows, 3A SPSL, 2A SPSL, and 1A Nisqually, as well as capsules from other area small-school teams.

State football overview: Dual-threat QBs have Auburn Mountainview, Gig Habor thinking state

Preseason TNT All-State football team: Graham-Kapowsin’s Foster Sarell on of nation’s top 2017 recruits

Preseason TNT rankings: Gig Harbor No. 2 in 4A, Auburn Mountainview third in 3A, Tumwater 2nd in 2A and Cascade Christian No. 3 in 1A

4A Narrows: Olympia will compete for playoff spot, like always

4A SPSL: UW commit Amandre Williams can do just about everything for Tahoma

3A Narrows: Is that Xavier Cooper? Or Wilson’s A.J. Ruffin?

3A SPSL: Lakes cousins Jaiave Magalei and Maika Magalei might as well be brothers

2A Evergreen: Team capsules

2A SPSL: Willie Patterson, Alex Bing can lift Franklin Pierce back to league title

1A Nisqually: Team capsules. Story Saturday.

Small schools: Team capsules

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