Thursday, June 29, 2017 This Week's Paper

Lakes Passing League offers glimpse into upcoming season

Coming off of a long off-season, local high school football coaches wonder if the weight-room work put in by their returning players will result in improved play on the field, both in individual play, plus wins and losses – the ultimate measuring stick for any football program.

The annual gathering of some of the local offensive talent at the Lakes Passing League at Lakes High School gives Lancer head coach Dave Miller a chance to evaluate both his own talent and also see if any improvements should be made to the annual two-day event. “This really gives the kids on every team here a chance to stretch their legs and get a feel for competition before they go to camp in mid August,” Miller said. “They will get a jump on kids who won’t experience this type of activity.”

Coming off tough seasons and getting ready for the next has certain coaches scratching their heads, wondering about the season to come and what kind of work ethic they’ll see. Not so at Foss High School.

“We’ve had a great summer to this point,” said second-year head coach Pat Johnson, who played under Dave Miller at Lakes on the offensive line. Opponents and scores don’t matter at all in these games, just skill, player performance and staying healthy.

“We pretty much know what we have,” said Bellarmine head coach Tom Larsen. “Coming off of the last three years with the success that we had helps out quite a bit,” Larsen said. His teams went to the 4A state finals, state quarterfinals, and the state semi finals the last three years and, with minimal roster turnover this year, they should taste post-season success again.

Losing only six players off his team from last year, and with the tremendous amount of work that his team has put in over the summer, Coach Johnson sees things on the upswing at Foss. “We have a lot of talent returning, including fullback Patiole Pestesea who received a full ride scholarship offer from Eastern Washington University,” Johnson said.

Now that last year’s inaugural season is history, Johnson is looking forward to better things for the Falcons. “Our returning squad has a year’s experience of our system under their belts, and our coaching staff expects to see improvement on both sides of the ball and if that happens, the wins and losses will take care of themselves.”

Like with Coach Larson at Bellarmine, Dave Miller’s Lancers have high expectations from year to year. “If we get the strong work ethic, especially from our team leaders, then the rest of the team’s work ethic should fall into place and we should be competing for both the SPSL 3A championship and a deep run in the postseason,” Miller said.

Asked to comment on one of his former players, Miller could only think of one word to describe this particular former player: commitment. “Pat Johnson will turn things around in time at Foss,” Miller said. “He has a great ability to communicate, and it will be a matter of time before his players buy into the system and that will be reflected in the wins and losses.”