High School Football

Athleticism, physicality has Squalicum football primed for big year

The Bellingham Herald

Squalicum coach Nick Lucey wasted little time making his mark on the Storm football program in 2014, guiding the team to its first ever state playoff berth.

The Storm accomplished plenty, making an impressive postseason run that ended in a 59-33 state quarterfinal loss to Tumwater.

And while the team tasted success, Squalicum also learned what it needs to do in order to take another step forward this fall.

“Our last game we got overpowered a little bit physically, so that was kind of our emphasis in the offseason,” junior wide receiver/defensive back Ben Peterson said. “We didn’t want to finish like we did last year, getting physically overpowered, so we spent a lot of time in the weight room. We are hoping to play that fourth quarter harder (this) year.”

The Storm is out to prove last year was no fluke, and there’s little reason to believe Squalicum can’t again contend for a state spot and make another run.

“I think they can be pretty darn good,” Lucey said of his group. “There are a lot of kids back that played a lot last year.”

Talented players seemingly return in every position grouping, but arguably the biggest question mark comes at quarterback with the graduation of Christian Jorgensen.

Lucey is expected to turn the offensive controls over to junior Garrett Sorenson, who didn’t see much action last year but received strong praise.

“He is a competitor, a great leader, all the things you talk about with a quarterback,” Lucey said. “And he’s really picked it up and worked his tail off and did a great job this summer. I’m excited to see him run our offense.”

While Sorenson’s play is yet to be determined, there is no doubting the quality of receivers he has at his disposal. Ben Peterson and Josiah Westbrook are two of the league’s brightest talents, and Noah Westerhoff and Darious Powell should be in the mix, too.

Damek Mitchell is expected to take over running back duties and will run behind a big, powerful offensive line headlined by Andrew Napier, Caleb Starkovich, Everett Turner and Jacob Burgoon.

Defensively, Squalicum could have the best set of linebackers in the Northwest Conference in Creighton Kaui, Jack Wendling and Mitchell.

“I really like our linebackers,” Lucey said. “I think they move really well and also play physically.”

Peterson and Westbrook give Squalicum two standout safety’s, but the Storm will have to replace both its cornerbacks.

Key numbers

6

Offensive starters from 2014 returning for Squalicum in 2015.

7

Defensive starters from 2014 returning for Squalicum in 2015.

18

More turnovers Squalicum committed than its

opposition in 2014.

9

Storm touchdowns scored on defense or special teams in 2014.

Players to watch

DAMEK MITCHELL

Jr., RB/LB

Already a proven outside linebacker talent, Mitchell could develop into one of the better running backs in the NWC.

BEN PETERSON

Jr., WR/DB

Peterson is lighting fast and one heck of a talent as a pass-catcher and a safety. Expect him to assemble another outstanding season.

CALEB STARKOVICH

Sr., OL/DL

Starkovich has the right blend of size and strength. He’ll create running lanes on offense and close them up on defense.

JOSIAH WESTBROOK

Sr., WR/DB

Westbrook has all the talent in the world. His speed, catch radius and quicks make him an ideal target in the pass game.

Three keys to 2015

1. GETTING PHYSICAL

Squalicum didn’t have many weak spots last year, but the team felt it didn’t measure up physically to some opponents. After many weight room hours spent bulking up, now it’s time to unleash those gains on the opposition.

2. ESTABLISH THE RUN

One of the best ways to alleviate pressure from a new quarterback is generating a ground game. The Storm has a good line and a talented back in Mitchell, who should turn into one of Sorenson’s top offensive options.

3. KEEP BUYING IN

What Lucey has implemented at Squalicum has worked. Plain and simple. With a talented crop of athletes, if the Storm can continue to build off of last season and keep that momentum going, Squalicum seems to have the ability to make another run.

Projection

Squalicum should have a very strong defense, and if Sorenson transitions to varsity well, a good offense, too. The talent is in place to contend for a NWC crown and a state berth.

2015 schedule

Date

Opponent

Time

Sept. 4

Bellingham^

7 p.m.

Sept. 12

Meridian^

7 p.m.

Sept. 18

at Lynden*

7 p.m.

Sept. 25

Sedro-Woolley*^

7 p.m.

Oct. 2

at Burlington-Edison*

7 p.m.

Oct. 10

Ferndale*^

7 p.m.

Oct. 16

at Sehome*^

7 p.m.

Oct. 23

Blaine*^

7 p.m.

Oct. 30

at Anacortes*

7 p.m.

*NWC 2A/3A game; ^At Civic Stadium

2015 roster

No.

Player

Yr.

Ht.

Wt.

Pos.

1

Josiah Westbrook

Sr.

6-2

180

WR/DB

2

Jacob Hardy

So.

6-4

190

QB/LB

3

Darious Powell

Jr.

5-9

170

WR/DB

4

LeAndrew Alarcon

Jr.

5-8

155

WR/DB

5

Ben Peterson

Jr.

5-10

170

WR/DB

6

Riley Zehnder

Sr.

5-11

180

TE/LB

7

Noah Westerhoff

Jr.

6-0

170

WR/DB

8

Damek Mitchell

Jr.

5-10

185

WR/DB

10

Garrett Sorenson

Jr.

6-0

180

QB/RB

11

Jacob Corbett

So.

6-3

170

QB/DB

14

Zach Stuckey

So.

5-11

170

RB/LB

15

Bunji McLeod

Sr.

5-8

170

RB/DB

16

Creighton Kaui

Sr.

6-1

210

TE/LB

17

Kenji Maeda

Jr.

5-6

155

WR/DB

18

Jose Hernandez

So.

5-9

130

WR/DB

19

Jordan Smith

So.

5-8

134

WR/DB

20

Payton Chan

So.

5-11

150

TE/LB

21

Jake Burns

Jr.

5-11

195

TE/DT

22

Brian Pullman

So.

5-11

195

RB/LB

23

Max Angel

Sr.

6-2

160

WR/DB

24

Grant Austin

Jr.

6-2

170

WR/DB

25

Triston Smith

So.

5-7

161

RB/DB

26

Julian Gonzalez

So.

5-7

160

RB/DB

27

Carlos Hernandez

Sr.

5-9

175

RB/LB

28

Constantine Kryzias

So.

6-0

170

RB/LB

29

Logan Bufalini

So.

6-1

140

WR/DB

30

Marcus Benson

So.

5-10

160

RB/LB

32

Will Nickelson

Sr.

5-7

160

RB/LB

33

Jacob Souza

So.

5-7

145

WR/LB

34

Jase Barrett

So.

5-7

154

RB/LB

35

Manny Romero

Sr.

5-9

180

RB/LB

36

Sky Borsey

Sr.

5-10

205

TE/LB

44

Jack Wendling

Jr.

5-11

190

TE/LB

50

Will Russell

So.

5-10

180

OL/LB

51

Grant Dvorak

Sr.

6-2

210

OL/DL

52

Caleb Starkovich

Sr.

6-2

200

OL/DL

53

Raj Singh

Sr.

5-11

210

OL/DL

54

Josh Jacobson

So.

6-0

290

OL/DL

55

Jaden Miguel

So.

6-0

230

OL/DL

56

Andrew Westhaver

So.

6-0

205

OL/DL

57

Andrew Napier

Sr.

6-2

235

OL/DL

60

Mikey Vandenhack

So.

5-11

215

OL/DL

61

Chris Chatterley

Jr.

5-11

195

OL/DL

62

Mitchell Orloff

Jr.

5-10

175

OL/DL

63

Jacob Burgoon

Sr.

6-0

200

OL/LB

64

Kyle Basart

Sr.

6-0

215

OL/DL

65

Anthony Martinez

So.

5-7

160

OL/DL

66

Sam Stroud

So.

5-9

252

OL/DL

67

Evrett Turner

Sr.

6-0

230

OL/DL

70

Kyler Lamb

Jr.

6-2

225

OLDL

71

Dan Angel

So.

6-1

215

OL/DL

72

Kollin Johnson

So.

6-4

250

OLDL

73

Trenton Creelman

So.

5-10

190

OL/DL

74

Jasen Barber

So.

6-2

190

OL/DL

75

Justin McAuley

Jr.

5-10

210

OL/DL

76

Payton Manos

So.

5-9

190

OL/DL

77

Christian Greenleaf

So.

5-11

260

OL/DL

78

Beau Hubsch

Sr.

6-1

250

OL/DL

80

Andy Newbold

Jr.

6-2

170

WR/DB

81

Richard Rosen

So.

5-7

145

WR/DB

85

Brendon Tran

So.

5-7

130

WR/DB

88

Justin Hulbert

So.

5-11

153

WR/DB

2014 Season recap

RESULTS

(9-3, 5-2 NWC 2A/3A)

Date

Opponent

Result

Sept. 5

at Bellingham

W 55-13

Sept. 12

at Meridian

W 48-14

Sept. 19

Lynden*

L 49-24

Sept. 26

at Sedro-Woolley*

L 30-7

Oct. 3

Burlington-Edison*

W 38-28

Oct. 10

at Ferndale*

W 24-17

Oct. 17

Sehome*

W 52-6

Oct. 24

at Blaine*

W 62-14

Oct. 30

Anacortes*

W 42-0

CLASS 2A NORTHWEST DISTRICT PLAYOFF

Nov. 7

at Archbishop Murphy

W 44-16

CLASS 2A STATE PLAYOFFS

Nov. 14

at Orting

W 45-7

Nov. 21

at Tumwater

L 59-33

*NWC 2A/3A game

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

Rushing

Att.

Yards

Avg.

TD

Nick Manchester

75

633

8.4

13

Jordan Campbell

79

413

5.2

6

Damek Mitchell*

17

156

9.2

2

Ben Peterson*

8

140

17.5

1

Will Nickelson*

23

103

4.5

2

Passing

Cmp.

Att.

Yds.

TD

Int.

Christian Jorgensen

137

224

2,421

27

9

Garrett Sorenson*

2

3

4

0

0

Receiving

Rec.

Yards

Avg.

TD

Ben Peterson*

55

851

15.5

8

Josiah Westbrook*

29

544

18.8

11

Coleman Schwab

22

435

19.8

3

Damek Mitchell*

18

365

20.3

3

Quinn Carpenter

5

141

28.2

1

*returning player

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