If one word best describes Graham-Kapowsin High School’s football team in 2012, it might be experienced.
Few of the other teams in the South Puget Sound League 4A’s South division have the collective playing experience of the Eagles, who have eight starters back on offense and eight on defense. That seasoned core helped Graham-Kapowsin go 5-3 in the SPSL and 5-5 overall last year, which ended with a loss to Bellarmine Prep in the post-season playoffs. And they’re a big reason for optimism about more success this season, starting with a non-league contest Thursday in Post Falls, Idaho against the hometown Trojans.
Success will have to come without the help of homefield fans in the early and middle stages of the season. The first three games on the Eagles’ schedule, including the league opener Sept. 7 at Curtis, and four of the first five will be on the opponents’ turf.
The 16 incumbent starters, 10 of them seniors, could be the key to getting through the long stretch of road games with enough victories to be in contention for another spot in the playoffs.
Among the players coach Eric Kurle can count on are five playerrs who were All-SPSL first or second-teams a year ago – running back Dylan Campbell, who rushed for 759 yards, tight end Conner McLeod, defensive back Kahlil Dawson, defensive end Ula Porter, and linebacker Micayel Mckecknie, the league’s leading tacker in 2011.
EYEING THE EAGLES
Returning starters on offense: Eight. Senior Kahlil Dawson, 5-9, 170-pound wide receiver with 25-plus catches last year; junior Dylan Campbell, running back/wide receiver, 6-1 and 185 pounds, second-team all-league pick last year after rushing for 759 yards; senior cener Joe Gomez, 6-3, 215 pounds; senior guard Logan Woods, 6-2, 245; senior running back/fullback Kyle Madsen, 5-10, 210-pounder rushed for 403 yards last season; junior Teague James, 5-10, 180-pound running back broke his leg in the first game last year; junior Conner Mcleod, second-team All-SPSL tight end last season, 6-3, 190 pounds.2nd Team All league 6’3″ 190 pounds; senior tackle Tanner Wiggins, 6-4, 245. * Returners starters on defense: Eight. Senior linebacker Micayel McKecknie, 5-11, 210 pounds, All-SPSL in 2011 when led league in tackles; Dawson, All-SPSL defensive back last year; senior defensive end Ula Porter, 6-2, 225, second-team all-league last year; senior tackle Issac Schimidt, 6-2, 330; James, linebacker; senior linebacker Brady Austin, 6-2, 215; Campbell, defensive back; McLeod, defensive back. * Last season: 5-3 in South Puget Sound League 4A South division, 5-5 overall. * Coach: Eric Kurle, career record 151 -75.