VISIT TO STEILACOOM HIGH SCHOOL FALL CAMP
If you’ve ever met Brian Koch, the Steilacoom High football coach since 2007, you’d know he’s the sturdy-framed, big-hearted type that likely fit in well in his hometown of Leavenworth.
Last season, he guided the Sentinels back to the Class 2A state playoffs for the first time in three seasons, losing to Othello, 14-0, in the first round.
So, why was Koch running late to the first day of preseason-camp practice Wednesday afternoon?
He was tightening the screw in player helmets and shoulder pads – just as a precaution.
“Had some concussion issues last year,” he said.
When he finally had a chance to catch his breath on the back field of the school, he admitted these types of days – “housekeeping” days – are the toughest for him to swallow.
“This,” Koch said, “and the first day in pads.”
Don’t misread his laid-back exterior, Koch has a hard-as-nails approach to football. He uses the same Wing-T offense that was run under former Steilacoom coach Eric Miller. And even though his entire backfield from last season’s playoff team is gone, all five blockers return.
Quarterback is going to be up in the air all fall camp. Lucas Mireles, who started the past 11/2 seasons, moved with his family to Germany in the spring. In return, Koch got a pair of brothers transferring in – Patrick (senior) and Brian (sophomore) Thomas.
Patrick has not played football since middle school, but was convinced to turn out – and might end up being the starting quarterback. Brian has already reset the school’s sophomore powerlifting records, and is a workhorse fullback in the making.
If nothing else, practices will be a tad more interesting this season, especially after Koch introduced a home-made device that will surely spice up the end of the day – “The Wheel of Misfortune.”
Those players who break team rules will have to spin it at the end of practice to see what their punishment is. It could be a “50-Yard Tire Flip,” or a “100-Yard Bear Crawl.” Or it could be a spin of “Your Lucky Day” to avoid such carriage of justice.