Sammamish turning to new head coach on gridiron | Prep spring football

Sammamish hopes to get on track under a new head coach in 2014 - Josh Suman, Bellevue Reporter
Sammamish hopes to get on track under a new head coach in 2014
— image credit: Josh Suman, Bellevue Reporter

Spring football has concluded around Bellevue, with teams set for summer conditioning and team camps before fall practice opens in late August.

The Reporter takes a look at each of the four public school squads, starting with Sammamish.

2013 season: Sammamish beat rival Interlake last year for the first time since 2006, also marking the Totems' first conference win since the 2011 season.

But that was the lone high point for Sammamish, which finished 1-9 overall and with losses to four Class 2A squads.

All-KingCo losses: Honorable mention offense: Terrence Allen, QB; Kendrick McVay, WR; Yung Sung Nam; Honorable mention defense: Max Hummer

All-KingCo returners: None

Biggest question: Can Craig turn Totems into 2A contenders?

There was nothing particularly surprising about Sammamish's struggles in 2A/3A KingCo last year, after nearly a decade of disappointment on the gridiron.

But building a contender among the Class 2A ranks in a similar vein to rival Interlake during its recent run of state success is not out of the realm of possibility, especially with Lake Washington returning to 3A in 2014 (Liberty will be classified in 2A and battle with the Totems for district playoff spots).

New head coach Todd Craig said around 45 players were out for spring practice, and have been receptive of the new staff and its message.

"They want to get better, and they want to put the work in," he said. "We are getting in a lot of new concepts, and making the changes we felt we needed to make."

The emphasis has been on the details and basics, as well as a dedication to carrying any momentum from the spring into the summer and fall camp.

"We want to see a commitment to be here," he said. "Whether it is our practices, player practices, conditioning, we want to see leadership develop and the kids take charge of their team."

The Totems will not travel to a college team camp over the summer, as Craig said he will opt instead to take a page from his former boss Butch Goncharoff at Bellevue and take his team to a retreat camp by themselves.

Bellevue and its annual Fort Worden State Park team camp are a much anticipated part of the season for those inside the program, something Craig hopes to duplicate.

He added the success of the six-time defending 3A state champs during the fall would seem to contradict the idea that full-team camps with live scrimmages are tied to success during the season.

Sammamish took advantage of a swoon from rival Interlake to win the Crossroads Cup 21-7, and bring a measure of pride to a program that has defined downtrodden in recent years.

But Craig said he wants his team to be focused on bigger goals.

"I don't want to undermine the Crossroads Cup, because there is a lot of history and tradition there, and we want to respect that," he said. "But we want to do better."


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