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2017 Football: New Players Preparing to Play Like the Same Old Titans

PWV players run through footwork drills in Lebam.

2017 Football: New Players Preparing to Play Like the Same Old Titans

Pe Ell-Willapa Valley football coach Josh Fluke is a classic work-hard, play-hard kind of guy. A logger by trade, he shows up to afternoon football practice with a solid 8-hour day behind him and the tattered jeans and suspenders of his vocational uniform still in place. A man of habit, Fluke is not interested in changing the recipe for success out on state Route 6 simply because his team features new talent at several key positions.

“We’re just gonna stick with what we’ve been, a hard-nosed running football team,” emphasised Fluke during a preseason practice.

The Titans will open up with four tough nonleague games versus Adna, Morton-White Pass, Mossyrock and Toledo. Fluke says his team may be in for some tough lessons in those first few weeks but he expects the tough schedule to pay dividends toward the end of the season.

“I think for us what’s going to happen is we’re a young team. We’re going to start a lot of guys who haven’t felt the fire but as the season goes on we’re going to get better and better,” said Fluke.

PWV’s Ryan Shepherd

The Titans had 34 players participate during the second week of summer practice, including 22 freshmen and sophomores, and Fluke was happy with some of the new prospects he has in camp who are looking to compete for positions. He listed sophomores Peter Hamilton (RB/LB), Kobe Hoffman (OL/DL) and Kaleb McCalden (WR/DB) as a new kids on the block who are looking to make a name for themselves. As for the returning contingent, the Titans will be quarterbacked again by Matt Pearson with Ryan Shepherd and Tyson Nissell looking to haul in his passes. Nissell will also get reps at running back and Bradley Prestegord will look to anchor the offensive line as the only returning starter.

On defense the Titans plan to run a lot of even front looks with Prestegord again holding down the interior line. Nissell and Max Smith will slot in at linebacker positions while Shepherd will cover the deep third of the field as free safety, and Cub Bair will return as a starting cornerback. Nissell will also handle the kicking and punting duties for the Titans.

With a moderate turnout and a lot of unproven players in the mix, Fluke says he has had to use restraint when it comes to in practice contact early in the season. Still, the Titan coach is a throwback type who knows that when it comes to learning the ropes of varsity football there is no substitute for live contact.

“We smack around a little bit. We don’t get too goofy with it but we do hit a little bit,” said Fluke. “Especially with these younger guys. If I’m going to be able to play them I’ve got to see if they can hit and see if they can take a hit too.”

Pe Ell-Willapa Valley Titans

SWW 2B Coastal Division

Coach: Josh Fluke (4th)

2016: 9-3 (lost in state quarterfinals)

Returning Starters: Defense — Bradley Prestegord (DL), Tyson Nissell (LB), Ryan Shepherd (FS), Cub Bair (DB), Max Smith (LB); Offense — Bradley Prestegord (OL), Ryan Shepherd (WR), Matt Pearson (WB), Tyson Nissell (TE/RB)

9/2 Adna (Menlo)

9/8 at Morton-White Pass

9/15 Mossyrock (Pe Ell)

9/22 at Toledo

9/29 Ocosta (Pe Ell)

10/6 at South Bend

10/13 at Ilwaco

10/20 North Beach (Menlo)

10/27 at Raymond

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