PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Clallam Bay squad keeping football alive

CLALLAM BAY — Wins and losses will take a back seat this fall for Clallam Bay. The Bruins will field a football team again this fall, and that itself is a victory.

Beset by low enrollment, including zero freshman and no eighth-graders, the Bruins will play a series of six-man football games against familiar eight-man foes such as Crescent, Tulalip Heritage and Evergreen Lutheran.

Clallam Bay went the same route in 2016, going 1-3.

“We have six or seven games scheduled right now, but it’s mostly about getting the kids to play,” Bruins head coach Cal Ritter said. “I’d hate to see the program go away, once it goes it would be awfully hard to get it back, so anything we can do to keep playing we will do.”

And just like last year, Ritter said his kids, all eight of them in 2017, want to be Clallam Bay Bruins and aren’t interested in seeking out options at rival Neah Bay or Forks.

“Everybody wants to stay here and play here,” he said. “As long as we can find some schools that will play us in the six-man game we’ll keep doing it.

“I think we could see this more in the future, schools like Lake Quinault, Muckleshoot, Tulalip, all are having lower enrollment, so maybe in the future we could form a league. Because not having a league to play in, a championship and playoffs to play for, it can be tough to get the kids motivated about it.”

Ritter said the school has contacted the WIAA, the governing body of high school sports in this state about that idea.

“They are on our side. They hate seeing opportunities taken away from the kids. So we might bring a proposal to them that could maybe shake things up in the numbers game and get some more schools able to play six-man.”


Besides fewer players on the field, six-man football, has some rules differences from its eight-and 11-man cousins.

“We will use an 80-yard by 40-yard field,” Ritter said. “It’s fun, it’s wide open and it’s a lot of offense.”

And that offense is run a little differently.

“The only person not eligible for passes is the center,” Ritter said. “And the quarterback, or the first player to take the snap from the center, can’t run forward across the line of scrimmage with the ball.”

If the quarterback or player who touches the ball first pitches the ball to a second player, then the center becomes eligible. So expect some trickery during these contests.

Ritter said he hasn’t switched up his coaching methods much the past two seasons.

“I don’t try to do a whole lot different than what I would do with the eight-man game,” Ritter said. “Having to hold the QB back [from running] is an issue a little bit. The kids get excited and want to take off.

“And you’ll get a lot more one- on-one tackling, even with the field being smaller we still have a lot of space to use, so we work on a lot of open-field tackling, a lot of 1-on-1 stuff. But mainly, we are young and just trying to play football.”

With those rules, having your best athlete at quarterback, the standard move for most eight-man teams, goes out the window.


Instead, Ryan McCoy, the player called “far and away our most athletic and strongest player” at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, will play at running back and middle linebacker.

“Ryan, he’s our workhorse. He’s a great kid with an excellent work ethic and we want him right in the middle of the action.”

Ritter said Ryan Strid will play quarterback and defensive back, and will be protected offensively by his brother Eric Strid on the offensive line.

Kailin Duncan will likely play center on offense and along the line defensively and Anthony McGraw and Colin Aldana also will serve as linemen.

Jacob Hull, a player who missed 2016 with an injury, according to Ritter, will play wide receiver and defensive back.

“And another new kid, Preston Hannah, he’s a big, strong kid that will help us out on the line and maybe some at fullback,” Ritter said.

Clallam Bay Coach Cal Ritter leads the team through a preseason practice.
Lonnie Archibald/for Peninsula Daily News

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