POULSBO — Summer is officially over for North Kitsap High School football players, coaches and parents culminating with the beginning of practice this week.
Vikings head coach Steve Frease said nearly 70 players, including freshman, turned out for the team this August.
“When it’s all said and done and school starts I expect there will be a total of at least 85 kids out here,” he said. “With the large numbers on the roster it will give them the opportunity to compete for positions. We’re in a tough league and we need the competition.”
Frease said he expects his varsity team to improve upon last season’s 5-4 overall.
“We want to improve our record and get some more victories in the win column. I want the team to have fun playing the game and to continue the strong football tradition we have here at NK. Our kids worked hard over the summer and deserve to win. We have great kids here,” he said. “We want to win the state championship.”
The Vikings will boast a more wide open attack than they have in the past.
“We’re going to put the ball in the air a little bit more this year,” Frease said. “We have kids who can throw the ball and catch it.”
Junior 6-foot, 2-inch quarterback Kevin Stringer will spread the ball around to a more than capable crew of running backs and wide receivers.
“Kevin is the kid thats going to make everything go,” Frease said. “He’s tough and started for us on defense last year. He’s a great leader that leads by example. He was out here all summer at 6 a.m. throwing to his receivers.”
He said he believes Stringer has the ability to continue his football career after high school.
“He wants to play at the next level and he knows what it takes to get there,” he said.
Senior receivers Kyle McCown, Ryan Cleaver, Matt Cordell and Parker Thomas likely will be Stringer’s favorite targets.
Anchoring the offensive line will be seniors Jordan Ejde and Chris Dalton.
“Jordan is our strongest lifter,” Frease said. “He brings intensity and toughness to our team.”
Running backs Greg Ottele, Kyle Brose and Taylor Chisholm will get the bulk of the carries behind the hosses up front.
In addition, the Vikings possess the luxury of having one of the premier kickers in the Narrows League. Junior Zach Sampson, who earned Narrows League first team all league honors in soccer, is back for his second season as the Vikings kicker/punter.
“Zach is valuable because he can help us win the field position battle,” Frease said. “He’s a weapon.”
Vikings junior tight end/defensive end Josh Byers said the Vikings are ready to contend as one of the best teams in the Narrows League.
“Our team motto is conditioning,” he said. “We’re going to have a lot of speed on both sides of the ball. We have a lot of guys who are going to step up into their roles this year.”
Frease said the Vikings are looking forward to their first game of the season against the Spartans at 7 p.m. Aug. 31 at Bainbridge Island.
“Our seniors have never beat them,” he said. “We’re looking forward to playing them.”