2017 South Fork High School Football Preview

Senior wide receiver Ryder Pfau evades a tackle last Friday evening during the season-opening scrimmage in Laytonville. South Fork coaches look on from the background, left-to-right: Karl Terrell, Bret Wilsey, Andy Olsen [Photo by Janice Coffelt]

South Fork High School’s Varsity Football team began practice on August 7th, eager to erase last year’s tough 0-10 season and find a new identity in the 8-man format which will allow the Cubs’ considerable talent to shine.

The 8-man league includes 12 schools, and stretches from Marin County to Humboldt. South Fork will play 8 total games within the league, with the hopes of making it to the two-round play-off series to include semi-finals and a championship game played in late October and early November.

This year’s squad will include 7 seniors, 5 juniors, 2 sophomores and 5 freshmen, allowing for multiple subs on both sides of the ball, a luxury the Cubs have not had for quite some time.

Summing up this year’s team, head coach Andy Olsen, now in his 14th year of coaching football at South Fork, said, “We’re not big, but we’re quick.” For the first time in his tenure with the Cubs, Olsen has no one over 200 pounds on the roster, but with the speed, intelligence and combined experience of his players, he is not worried.

Junior Quarterback CJ Van Meter receives the snap and turns to hand the ball off. #24 Senior fullback Scott Coffelt and #9 senior running back Gabe Malley anticipate the exchange last Friday night in an 8-man scrimmage jamboree hosted by Laytonville [Photo by Janice Coffelt]

Senior Scott Coffelt, whom Olsen calls a true student of the game, will build on his tremendous career of three prior years of varsity play and two all-conference awards by returning as a fullback and quarterback this season. Coffelt rushed for 461 yards and 2 TDs to lead the team last year, and threw 2 TD passes.

Senior Ryder Pfau will play wide receiver and cornerback in his third year on the varsity team. “He is very capable of making guys miss tackles,” says Olsen of his speedster. Pfau led the team with 21 receptions last season, 2 for TDs, gaining an average of almost 16 yards per catch.

Senior Gabe Malley will play linebacker, running back and wide receiver. “He’s a high energy player who is very quick,” says Olsen. Malley had 18 receptions and rushed for 287 yards last year.

Senior Aaron Etherton will play on the offensive line and at linebacker on defense. He led the team in tackles last year with 53, helping earn him an all-conference star. Olsen likes his physicality.

Senior Jon Jon Gotcher will be playing his second year of varsity football and will play on the line on both sides of the ball. “He’s a hard worker and very strong,” says Olsen. Gotcher matched up well against guys outweighing him by 100 pounds in last Fridays’ scrimmage downs played in Laytonville.

Senior Levi Kirk will be playing his first year at the varsity level and Olsen looks forward to his contribution on the line. Kirk was an all-conference wrestler for South Fork last winter.

Senior Colton Gurreri will play running back and linebacker. “He’s very strong for his size and is hard-working,” says Olsen.

Junior CJ Van Meter will play quarterback, a job he’s been growing into since his freshman year. “It’s exciting to see the progress as his arm strength and maturity develop,” says Olsen. “He’s a very smart player and has been helping the whole team adjust to the smaller format,” which means at least in part, keeping Van Meter’s passing game more compact.

Junior Cody Wyatt missed a lot of last season due to injury, but his physicality and speed will ensure that “he makes a big impact when he plays,” according to Coach Olsen.

Junior Dusty Rodas is in her third year of football, second on the varsity team and will play on the line on both sides of the ball. “She contributes more and more each year,” says Olsen, “and will get a lot of playing time this season.”

Junior Dylan Music will play on the both sides of the line. Olsen has seen a positive change in this strong player’s attitude and effort.

Junior Ayden Gallagher will contribute at wide receiver and cornerback in his second year on varsity.

Senior running back #9 Gabe Malley breaks a tackle in Friday evening’s scrimmage in Laytonville. [Photo by Janice Coffelt]

Sophomore Elijah Roberts is in his second year of varsity play and will play running back and linebacker. He scored a couple TDs in last Friday’s scrimmage, and Olsen rates his football IQ as quite high.

Sophomore Austin Worrell is a big underclassmen who will play running back and linebacker. Olsen is impressed with how well he is learning the game.

Freshman Ray Gotcher is big enough in stature to play on the line as a freshman. He brings many years of experience in that role from the youth leagues.

Freshman John Gamble also brings many years of youth play to the high school team, and will play on both sides of the line.

Freshman Jared Sullins is a fast player up from the youth league who will play wider receiver and linebacker.

Freshman Christian Carlson will play Running back and linebacker and is another former youth player making the transition to varsity.

Freshman Sean Hassall-Hass will play wide receiver and cornerback. Olsen feels Sean is the quarterback of the future and is a very smart player.

The team is still adjusting to and figuring out the 80X40 yard fieldd as well as the rules differences. “This is an exciting brand of football,” says Olsen. “There are fewer bodies and everything is quicker.” The 8-man games tend to be higher scoring more offense-oriented contests as well.

Olsen will be assisted this year by long time South Fork football coach Karl Terrell, who heads up the defense, and English teacher Bret Wilsey who helps out across the board.

South Fork will travel to Laytonville this Friday night for their season opener, with kick-off at 6 p.m.

 

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2 comments

  • Victor G. Flashman

    It is amazing that Southfork can field a team! I applaud the young persons who have enough heart to follow after the last season’s record!

    Hang in there kids! You are awesome!

  • Best of luck to the Cubs in the new format. Should be fun!

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