It’s a small sample-size, but Curtis football coach Clay Angle enjoyed what he saw during the first practice of the season on Wednesday.
“We are farther along with our installation packages than we’ve been in the past,” he said. “We’re very pleased with the retention we had from off-season and seven-on-seven drills. We have a large veteran group back that played as juniors and sophomores last year. They remembered it and we’re ahead of where we’ve been in the past.”
At Curtis, where players and coaches are dodging construction crews to get from the locker room to the field, the Vikings are looking to capture a third straight SPSL South championship crown.
“We’re not going to sneak up on anybody,” Angle said. “We know that other people are pointing toward us.”
It won’t be easy for the Vikings. Curtis’ schedule is again front-loaded with competitive teams – four of the Vikings’ first six games are against teams that reached the postseason in 2009. Curtis opens at Rogers, visits Federal Way in Week 3, hosts Graham-Kapowsin the following week and has a non-conference home game against Auburn in Week 6. The Vikings faced similar situations in the last two seasons and were nearly unbeatable, compiling a league record of 15-1. Angle hopes Curtis can replicate those performances this fall.
“The off-season preparation has been a key to our early success,” he said. “We have a large number of players who buy into what we’re doing with off-season weight lifting and other things.”
Angle said he expects Curtis to throw more this season than it has in the past. He said the Vikings attempted 10-13 passes per game last season and that number will rise to 20-25. Part of the reason is the team’s strengths might lie in its skill players, particularly at receiver. Rahmel Dockery’s exploits are well known, but Angle sees other playmakers on offense, too.
“Rahmel gets a lot of the attention,” Angle said, “but C.J. Langlow and Jordan Copeland are very capable receivers. We think we have a lot of weapons we can go to.”
Senior quarterback Tyler Jamison returns with a year of experience under his belt. He led the SPSL in passing touchdowns with 16 and was second in the league with 1,506 passing yards. And, oh, yeah, he only attempted 90 passes and led the SPSL with a completion rate of 60 percent.
“Tyler is calmer, he understands things more,” Angle said. “He wants to do well and sometimes he pressures himself too much. He’s beginning to settle down more, is a much more sure quarterback.”
Curtis won’t abandon the run, Angle said. Fullback Jason Walker, the SPSL South’s linebacker of the year in 2009, figures to get some carries and the coach said the offense will employ a “tailback-by-committee” approach.
“This year we might run off the throw,” he said. “If we go three wides and you spread out to defend the perimeter we’ve got a 225-pound fullback that can run and our quarterback can run.”