Five Key Players
QB Davis Alexander (5’11, 175) – Davis is a guy who many might not know about, but he’s got the ability to extend plays with his legs while also being a very solid and accurate passer. The junior has a very high football I.Q. and he’s the player that the others look to as a leader/coach on the field.
WR/DB Santana Johnson (6’3, 180) – With his size, speed and natural ball skills, Johnson is a matchup nightmare for Tides opponents. As a junior last season, Johnson earned First Team All-Narrows 4A while hauling in 29 receptions for 533 yards and five scores and he’ll be counted on more heavily this fall at both receiver and corner.
WR Noah Samsen (5’11, 180) – Pound-for-pound, Samsen might be the strongest player on the team. He’s great out of the slot for the Tides and Samsen is asked to be a playmaker, both as a runner and as a receiver. He’s super-quick, he possesses great hands and he always seems to find the soft spot in zones.
OL Sam Campidilli (6’7, 285) – His size is impressive, but then when you get a look at his feet and you see a player with the ability to pull and handle pass-rushers in space. Campidilli was an All-Narrows selection in 2013 and the expectation is he’ll play at the level, or above, this fall.
OL/DL Brandon Schmunk (6’0, 260) – Schmunk starts both ways, but he’s probably better on defense where he was named First Team All-Narrows as a junior. He plays with a great motor and is one of the strongest players on the team.
Entering his third year at the helm of the Tides, head coach Aaron Chantler thinks he’s got a pretty good team on his hands, but a huge determinant on how the team does this season will rely upon how their offensive line gels and comes together.
Up front, Gig Harbor returns two studs inside at guard, Sam Campidilli at left guard and Brandon Schmunk at right guard, and three players who will rotate at tackle in senior Ben Dempewolf and juniors Seam Reemts and Connor Jost.
The center spot will have a new starter this fall in sophomore Alex Emery and the coaches think he could be a pretty special player down the road.
Keep an eye on junior Nate Younk, a transfer from Michigan, who just joined the team at the beginning of August. He will play on both offense and defense, but the coaches still aren’t sure where he fits best as they only started working with him once training camp started on August 20th.
The quarterback job is in the very capable hands of junior Davis Alexander who is a leader both on and off the field. He’s got the skills and athleticism to be a nice dual-threat player for the Tides this fall.
When they want to run, Gig Harbor will have a committee of tailbacks to turn to including juniors Adrian Volana and Max Batanian. Neither are very big, but with their line averaging nearly 260 pounds across the board, they don’t need to be. Both are great in space and adept at finding creases to run through.
When Davis drops back to pass, he will have at his disposal two All-League wideouts in senior Santana Johnson and junior Noah Samsen and he’ll have some role players to target in senior Bobby Blazer, a tall target who is an excellent blocker, and juniors Dylan Lindmark and Cory Condon.
Along the defensive lines, Schmunk is the leader in the middle and is super-tough to move off the point of attack, while junior Tommy Clausen joins him from his nose tackle spot. Expect York to also see time on defense.
Juniors dominate the linebacking corps as all three starters are 2016 grads.
Kalei Wong holds down the MIK (middle) while Alex Bouterse plays the SAM (strongside) and Andrew Johnson mans the WIL (weakside) spot. Senior Luke Laketa adds experienced depth outside.
In the secondary, Johnson locks down one side of field with his long, angular frame and fellow senior Hunter Werner is a big (6’1, 205), physical corner who is tough on opposing receivers.
Rotating in at corner will be Condon.
One safety spot will be held down by Hunter Talen and the other will be Dre Brazier a hard-hitting strong safety type who will be a key against the run.
A big focus this fall for Chantler and his defensive staff will be forcing more turnovers so they can get quick change scores on the board and overwhelm their opponents.
Bottom Line: Chantler has some very nice pieces returning off of a team that went 8-3 last year. With the senior leadership in place and the talent on both sides of the roster, this team should challenge Bellarmine Prep for the Narrows 4A title and they will be a team no one wants to play in the state playoffs with their physical style play being the biggest reason why.
@ Penninsula (9/5)
@ Eastlake (9/19)
@ Bellarmine Prep (10/31)