The Prep Blog

Covering high school sports in Tacoma, Pierce County and the South Sound

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Tag: Gig Harbor


It’s sunny, it’s hot and it’s mid-August…time for prep football camp

Unless you are at Mount Tahoma where preseason football camp opens at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, the rest of the schools will start up later – when the sun is up.

The plan right now is for me to hit Curtis High School in the morning to get a look at the Vikings, then rotate around Lakes High, Steilacoom High and finally motor on over the bridge to see Gig Harbor High under new coach Aaron Chantler.

Meg Wochnick, the Olympian sports reporter, will visit North Thurston High School in the morning where a few former Northwest Christian players will join the Rams (Northwest Christian is skipping football in 2012 due to poor turnout numbers).

Here is The News Tribune’s five-subject primer for the opening of camps in the South Sound:

With all due respect to Bellarmine Prep, which keeps knocking on the door in Class 4A; Lakes, which has the state’s biggest hurdle to clear – Bellevue – in 3A; and Tumwater and Capital, who now have to tangle with each other in Class 2A and the Evergreen Conference, the area program with the clearest path to a state football title is Cascade Christian in Puyallup.

Coach Randy Davis’ group has rolled to five consecutive appearances in the Tacoma Dome, winning the Class 1A state title in 2010, and falling a step short of repeating last season, losing to Connell.

The Cougars have their own issues to clear up, starting on the schedule. They open with a non-league game at Cashmere, then return to host Southwest Washington powerhouse Montesano the following week.

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Football: Beamer hires Darren McKay as head football coach

Less than a week after Beamer High opened up a search for a football head coach, the hunt is over.

The Titans filled the vacancy with a big-name hire, choosing former Gig Harbor High coach Darren McKay.

“I’m excited and happy,” McKay said. “Unless something opened up late I expected to be teaching at Gig Harbor next year and taking the year off from coaching.”

McKay marveled at the speed of the interview process.

“It moved incredibly fast,” he said
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Football: Gig Harbor hires a head coach

Gig Harbor High has hired Aaron Chantler as its new head football coach.

Chantler, a 2002 Wilson High graduate, has spent the past six seasons as a Rams assistant coach. Most recently, he was co-offensive coordinator. Chantler was going to be quarterbacks coach at Auburn High in 2012 — Trojans coach Gordon Elliott is his future father-in-law.

Chantler went through two rounds of interviews and received a call this afternoon offering the 28-year-old his first head coaching position.
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Baseball: Gig Harbor, Olympia play for Narrows 4A title Wednesday

Gig Harbor pitcher Nick Gagliardi threw a complete game three-hitter, leading the Tides to a 4-1 win over Olympia on Monday.

The victory forced Gig Harbor and Olympia into a first-place tie. The teams will close out the regular season Wednesday at Olympia High.

Gig Harbor scored all of its runs in the first inning when it tagged Leif Hansen for six straight hits. Hansen settled down after, allowing only one more hit before leaving the game in the fifth.


Football: Coaching carousel spinning at high-speed in South Sound

There’s been a lot of coaching turnover among football teams in the South Sound the past few months – more than I can remember in recent years.

Here’s what I can remember on this Saturday night. If you know of others, chime in.

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Gig Harbor fires football coach Darren McKay

The Peninsula School District fired Gig Harbor High football coach Darren McKay this afternoon. McKay remains a teacher at the school.

McKay’s firing comes less than 24 hours after an outpouring of support at the district’s school board meeting. Click here to read more about that.

UPDATE (4:50 p.m.) — Here’s my story:

Less than 24 hours after listening an outpouring of support for Darren McKay, Peninsula School District superintendent Terry Bouck fired Gig Harbor High’s football coach Friday afternoon.

“Guess I’m going to have to update my resume,” said McKay, who led the Tides for 12 seasons.

Since December, McKay has been fighting the district’s decision to place him on an improvement plan that also called for him to fire two assistant coaches – his father Mike and brother Sean – by filing a grievance.

The grievance has reached the state level and to McKay’s knowledge has not been resolved, he said. Still, on Friday he was given a termination letter, which cited his failure to cooperate with the improvement plan and not showing satisfactory improvement to his evaluators, McKay said.

“I got fired for standing up to (the district),” he said.
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Football: Supporters of Gig Harbor coach Darren McKay speak out at school board meeting

Gig Harbor football coach Darren McKay at practice. Drew Perine/The News Tribune

Rumors about Darren McKay’s position as head football coach at Gig Harbor High have been swirling around the South Sound since December.

On Thursday, at the Peninsula School District’s monthly school board meeting, more than 100 McKay supporters crammed the district office building to show their support. Thirty-five people spoke — most used their allotted three minutes — in favor of McKay.

Here’s my story on the board meeting, which provides background on the happenings of the past four months.

That story is the nuts-and-bolts version of what happened Thursday evening. Because of space constraints, I want to mention some things didn’t make it into that story.
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Boys Basketball: Bellarmine Prep beats Olympia 68-51 in Narrows tiebreaker

Bellarmine Prep forward Lucas Meikla swats a shot made by Olympia High's Trevor Houser.

Dominick Francks shot and shot and shot and shot and shot and shot and shot.

Bellarmine Prep’s boys basketball team had no answer for the Olympia High guard as they watched Francks rain down 3-pointers in the Narrows League 4A tiebreaker Friday at Foss High.

Francks drilled seven first-half treys, including six in a row in a six-minute, second-quarter stretch that turned Bellarmine Prep’s eight-point lead into a six-point deficit.

“What can you say?” Lions coach Bernie Salazar said. “Francks was tremendous.”

Fortunately for the Lions, Francks hot hand cooled in the second half – thanks largely to a ratcheted-up defense – and second-ranked Bellarmine Prep emerged with a 68-51 victory over No. 7 Olympia.

“We didn’t change anything, we just did a better job getting in Francks’ face, taking away open looks,” Salazar said. “We just got after it in the second half.”
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