Football preview: Evergreen seeking to surprise

QB Thomas only full-time starter back for Plainsmen

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

Published:

 

Evergreen Plainsmen

Coach: Charles Anthony

2010: 1-8, 1-3 4A GSHL.

Key players: Jarred Telles, sr., rb-db; Anthony Thomas, jr., qb-db; Trent Foster, jr., dl; Kyle Allen, sr., dl; Jamaree Jones, jr., te; Robert Ahloo, sr., ol; Jafar Tiatia, sr., dl; Alex Scribner, sr., fb; Tyrell Griggs, sr., ol; Nathan Hughs, sr., DB.

Season outlook: The Plainsmen suffered through a one-win campaign in 2010 and do not have a lot of experienced players returning. Sometimes that’s a good thing.

This will be a fresh start with a fresh attitude.

“Our objective is to get better. We just want to compete,” coach Charles Anthony said. “Go out there every day and compete and do the little things right.”

2011 SCHEDULE

Sept. 2 at Mountain View

Sept. 9 Lakes

Sept. 16 at Richland

Sept. 23 Eisenhower

Sept. 30 at Battle Ground

Oct. 7 at Kelso

Oct. 14 Skyview

Oct. 21 at Union

Oct. 28 Heritage

Home games played at McKenzie Stadium

Anthony Thomas actually embraces the current situation surrounding Evergreen football.

A junior quarterback, Thomas is pretty much the lone returning starter for the Plainsmen. He understands that not much is expected from the team this year — at least as far as expectations from outsiders are concerned.

He also has seen the talent up close.

He also knows there will be plenty of new names making big plays for the Plainsmen.

“It’s kind of cool knowing you don’t have any pressure,” Thomas said. “Being the underdogs, we can just surprise people. We’re going to amaze people with what we’re going to do. We’ve got a lot of great players who were on the sidelines last year. They’re going to come in and shock a lot of people. We’ve got a lot of great athletes on our team that people don’t know about.”

As with many football teams, success starts with the quarterback. Maybe more so for the Plainsmen because of the general lack of experience elsewhere. Evergreen coach Charles Anthony reports two returning starters on offense and defense, but only Thomas was a full-time starter.

If you have to start over, Anthony said, it’s good to have that quarterback.

“He has to know what each player is doing,” the coach said. “His deal is to be mentally prepared for the game, to tell people where to go, what to do, and how to do it, sometimes. At the quarterback position, you can’t have a lapse. It’s a big responsibility.”

It is a responsibility that the coach said Thomas is ready to accept. The coach said Thomas has matured over the year. Already tough physically, the coach said Thomas attacked the mental aspect of the game and is getting better “every day.”

Thomas said he and his teammates are holding each other accountable with a “we” attitude, not a “me” or a “he.”

“If one person messes up, I mess up,” Thomas said. “We don’t down-talk. We immediately erase it.”

Some quarterbacks with a young, inexperienced offensive line might be apprehensive about an approaching season.

Thomas said he has confidence in the protection.

He sees how hard the linemen are working.

If there is a mistake, the player makes up for it with effort.

“I haven’t seen my line fall apart one time,” Thomas said. “Even if there is a missed block, they’re going to keep going. They’re still going to keep our team moving.”

Thomas said he enjoys the double-wing approach because of its “smash-mouth” approach.

“We run hard and let people know we’re ready to play,” he said.

Then, when the time is right, he likes to hit defenses with the pass.

“When we pass, it’s surprising,” Thomas said. “You see the backers and safety come up, then we get (the receivers) the money ball.”

The ultimate goal for Anthony Thomas is to lead the Plainsmen to the playoffs. He also wants to make sure he puts his teammates in the perfect position to be successful.

“I just want to see my receivers and my wingbacks in the end zone more,” the quarterback said. “I want to read the defenses better, to see if I need to change calls at the line. I just want to see points.”