Larry Lawlis took over for Lenker as Darrington’s coach in August, and was quickly apprised of the situation the program found itself in. Lawlis said he doesn’t have experience coaching eight-man football, but the players and the coaching staff are learning together in advance of the team’s first game, against LaConner’s junior-varsity, on Sept. 14.
“When we started on Aug. 19, the same 15 kids that showed up on my first day to meet me were the 15 kids that showed up to our first practice, and they’ve been working with our assistant coach Chad Monteith in the weight room all summer,” Lawlis said. “These are 15 very dedicated kids. We assumed that we would get more kids out, but unfortunately we didn’t. We’re hoping to generate enough talk this year to get more kids to come out next year, but everyone is very upbeat and excited. It’s still football.”
Even if those recruiting efforts are successful, it may not matter beyond this year.
New principal/athletic director Rachel Quarterman and former athletic director and current assistant football coach Cory Ross said that it is “highly unlikely” that Darrington has ever been forced to play eight-man football games in its history.
“The goal is to get us back to a varsity schedule and competing in our league, which I think is the goal for any program,” said Quarterman, who took over at Darrington on July 1 after spending 15 years in the Granite Falls School District. “The real goal with hiring a new football coach is just building numbers.”
Ross, who said he was informed by the school district in March that he would not continue into 2015 as athletic director as part of a district-wide reshuffling, said that 10 potential returners that he helped coach in 2014 opted not to play in 2015 for various reasons.