NOOKSACK - At a booster club meeting to help organize a fund-raising golf tournament last spring, Nooksack Valley coach Robb Myhre was asked how he wanted to spend the money.
"I really hadn't thought about it at that point, so I just joked that a couple of big Samoans would be nice, knowing B.J. (Salmonson, who is gray-shirting at Washington State) was leaving," Myhre said. "Well that was on a Sunday. That Wednesday I got an email from our vice principal that said, 'Dude, you won't believe what just walked into my office - two big Hawaiian kids.' ... Of course it was just a coincidence. The booster club had nothing to do with it.
"Then this summer, we got done with summer camp, and I was thinking, 'Oh boy, do we need a safety. We just don't have a kid to play that safety or middle linebacker slot,' and I knew that would be a big hole for us. Then all of a sudden Trey (Handy) called and said, 'Guess who's moving up here? Curtis (Handy, his cousin) is moving here, and he is a player.'"
Think Myhre should think about playing the lotto anytime soon?
"That just doesn't happen here," Myhre said. "We were thinking about it, and there's been one kid since we've been coaching that moved into this district that really helped us out. All of a sudden, we've got two or three, and they hit every hole that we had."
And the Pioneers had some pretty big holes to fill after the graduation of yet another strong senior class.
The biggest holes - literally and figuratively - were on the lines.
"We just don't have the number of big, thick kids that we've had the last few years," Myhre said.
Leni Halaapiapi, a 265-pound transfer, gives them one more to go with returning starters Matt Aure and Michael Whitmer.
They'll be blocking for a new quarterback in Tanner Myhre.
"He's just a different kid from his older brother (Trevon)," Robb Myhre said. "He's a lot smaller, quicker, but doesn't have the same arm strength, but he brings new strengths that Trevon didn't have. ... He's very athletic and can run and pass really well."
The sophomore will have an outstanding, veteran receiving crew with Trey Handy, Bret Rediger and Joey Scheffer all back.
"Our biggest struggle as a coaching staff is we want to make sure we get them all a certain number of touches during a game, and how do we figure that out," Myhre said.
Curtis Handy and senior Levi Schram should get the bulk of the running duties, along with Joe Luton.
The Pioneers defense still will be on the small side, but should be athletic, particularly in the secondary with Rediger, Tanner Myhre and Trey Handy.
"We feel like that's as good a group as we've every put out there in the secondary," Myhre said. "They're an experienced group, except for Tanner, but he's seen a lot over the years and has really good speed. ... We're not a team that is going to overpower you defensively. We've got to use or speed and athleticism and swarm to the ball."
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
A returning all-state selection, who had 1,200 yards receiving and 13 TDs, Handy is part of a very talented, experienced receiving crew for the Pioneers this year.
Nooksack Valley felt it when he went down with an injury late last year. He returns this year and will be a leader and much-needed thick body on the Pioneers' front lines.
Myhre takes over for his older brother behind center. He's not quite as big or as strong, but he brings a different skill set to the field. His ability to get the ball to a talented receiving crew will be crucial.
THREE KEYS TO THE SEASON
1. Fill the holes
The graduation of yet another strong senior class leaves Nooksack Valley looking to replace a number of standouts. The transfers should help, as the Pioneers try to win at least one postseason game for a fifth straight year.
2. Spread the ball around
Trey Handy had a terrific 2011 season, but he's not the only talented receiver on Nooksack's roster. The coaches want to make sure they get everyone involved.
3. Play to a strength
The Pioneers have been blessed with a number of big, thick, strong bodies the past couple of years, but that number has dwindled this year. Nooksack needs to take advantage of its speed and athleticism instead.
Aug. 31 Sehome 7 p.m.
Sept. 8 Forks TBD
Sept. 14 at Sedro-Woolley 7 p.m.
Sept. 21 at Coupeville 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 at Mount Baker* 7 p.m.
Oct. 5 Meridian* 7 p.m.
Oct. 12 Lynden Christian* 7 p.m.
Oct. 19 at Friday Harbor* 7 p.m.
Oct. 26 Blaine* 7 p.m.
*NWC 1A game
2011 RESULTS (7-3, 4-1 NWC, 5-1 NWC 1A)
at Cascade Christian L 25-15
at La Conner W 44-0
at Lynden Christian* W 40-0
Friday Harbor* W 47-14
at Meridian* W 31-21
Lynden Christian* W 42-8
at Friday Harbor W 48-7
Meridian* L 48-13
CLASS 1A NORTHWEST DISTRICT PLAYOFFS
Lynden Christian W 39-23
CLASS 1A TRI-DISTRICT PLAYOFFS
Cedar Park Christian L 24-21
*NWC 1A game
2011 STATS LEADERS
RUSHING Att. Yards Avg. TD
Trevon Myhre 109 713 6.5 14
Tito Nolasco 65 339 5.2 7
Matt Judy 6 86 14.3 1
PASSING Cmp. Att. Yards TD Int.
Trevon Myhre 133 241 2,162 23 7
RECEIVING Rec. Yards Avg. TD
Trey Handy* 62 1,200 19.4 13
Bret Rediger* 23 322 14.0 3
Tyson Perry 11 238 21.6 1
No. Player Yr. Ht. Wt. Pos.
1 Conner Beard Fr. 5-8 155 WR/S
2 Joey Scheffer Sr. 6-0 160 WR/LB
3 Curtis Handy So. 6-0 180 RB/LB
4 Ryan Gelwicks So. 5-5 125 WR/S
7 Andrew Klander Jr. 5-10 145 QB/CB
10 Joe McNeely Fr. 5-9 160 QB/S
11 Tanner Myhre So. 5-10 160 QB/S
12 Bret Rediger Sr. 6-1 180 WR/CB
13 Daryk Heidt Jr. 5-7 150 RB/LB
14 Ethan Vinup Jr. 6-1 190 K
17 Noah Rawls Fr. 5-11 150 WR/S
20 Trey Handy Sr. 5-10 165 WR/CB
21 Douglas Tyas Fr. 5-8 130 RB/LB
22 Parker Schram So. 5-7 135 WR/LB
23 Eben Rossmiller Jr. 5-8 145 WR/CB
28 Phillip Burger Fr. 5-9 110 WR/DB
32 Kalub Ames-Cude Fr. 5-7 155 RB/LB
33 Levi Schram Sr. 5-6 160 RB/LB
34 Jason Swanson Jr. 6-2 160 WR/CB
39 Hunter Whittern So. 5-5 135 RB/LB
43 Joe Luton Sr. 5-8 180 WR/LB
50 Kalvin Jimmie So. 5-7 150 OG/LB
51 Tyson Thorp So. 5-10 150 OT/LB
53 Nathan Anderson So. 5-7 145 OG/DE
60 Zane Sexton Fr. 5-3 145 OT/DE
61 J Snider Jr. 5-8 200 OT/DT
62 Matt Aure Sr. 5-9 230 C/DE
63 Jason Stredicke Fr. 5-7 150 C/DE
64 Hayden Sorenson Fr. 5-9 165 OT/DE
65 Austin Bruijn So. 5-8 275 OT/DT
67 Ross Luton Fr. 5-5 220 OG/DT
69 Blake Warner Jr. 5-10 175 C/DE
70 Tucker Schoonover Sr. 6-1 245 OT/DT
71 Tyler Warner Sr. 5-10 170 OT/DE
73 Chris Gonzales So. 5-6 210 OG/DT
74 Lathan Halaapiapi So. 6-2 200 OG/DE
75 Nick Bourassa Jr. 6-1 285 OT/DT
77 Leni Halaapiapi Jr. 6-1 265 OT/DT
78 Andrew Theisen So. 6-1 285 OT/DT
79 Michael Whitmer Sr. 6-6 215 OT/DE
80 Austin Holmstrom-Conn So. 6-1 210 WR/DE
81 Aaron Bosscher Fr. 5-11 150 WR/DB
85 Josh Gimmaka So. 6-2 175 WR/LB
87 Nich Castle Jr. 5-10 150 WR/DB
88 Brady Wood So. 5-11 145 WR/C
NA Cobie Hammond So. 5-10 195 OT/DT
NA Christian Palma-Campos Jr. 5-8 150 WR/DB
NA Antonio Swanaset Jr. 5-7 145 WR/DB
NA Ben Toner Sr. 6-1 235 OT/DT
Reach DAVID RASBACH at email@example.com or call 715-2271.