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By David Pan 

Kamiak hoping ground game leads to better results | Football


Last updated 8/29/2018 at Noon

The Kamiak football team has yet to run its first play from scrimmage.

But new coach Bryant Thomas already has called an audible.

An injury to senior Matt Merk meant that the Knights came into the 2018 season without their starting quarterback.

Throughout the summer, Bryant and his staff took a hard look at a pair of sophomores and came to a realization.

The first-year Kamiak coach was well-aware of just how strong the Knights’ passing attack was under Merk. The two younger quarterbacks weren’t at that level.

“You have to find a way so your team can be successful,” Thomas said. “If we get another Matt Merk, then we’ll sling it. We don’t have a Matt Merk, so we’ll do the next best things. We’re going to run the ball down your throat.”

The plan is for Kamiak to run what Thomas describes as fast break basketball on the football field – a flexbone option.

Fans will get their first look at the new offense against Bishop Blanchet at 7 p.m., Aug. 31, at Bishop Blanchet High School.

In this offense, the quarterback has multiple choices to make based on how the defense is lined up. He can give the ball to the fullback. If the quarterback doesn’t hand the ball off to the fullback, he then either takes the ball himself and runs up the field or he can pitch the ball to the slotback.

The quarterback plays a similar role to what a point guard does during a fast break. Both have to decide whether to keep the ball or give it up to a teammate.

“We’re coming at you and you’d better make the right decision,” Thomas said. “You make the wrong decision, then we’re going to get what we need to get.”

Thomas said that he’ll be patient with the new run-heavy offense.

“We’re going to run the ball a lot, about 90 percent of the time,” he said. “And so for us, it’s like Novacaine. Give it time, it’ll kick in.”

Thomas and his staff decided to turn to senior Hunter Bollschweiler as the new quarterback. Bollschweiler previously was a wide receiver and had never played quarterback until the start of fall camp.

Bollschweiler’s basketball background is helping him adapt to his new position. Bollschweiler is a guard.

“You’re a guard in basketball. Come play quarterback,” Thomas said. “You’re making the same decisions. He’s doing a real good job. … I can either turn the keys over to a young kid or I can turn it over to the senior. At the end of the day, I’m going to turn it over to the best player. Right now Hunter in a short time, he’s starting to elevate himself.”

Thomas added that the two sophomore quarterbacks both will see playing time this season. The Knights coach wants the backup QBs to be ready if needed.

“All my quarterbacks in the five years I’ve been coaching have always gotten series during games no matter how good the starting quarterback is,” Thomas added.

Bollschweiller was surprised as anyone by the recent turn of events.

“I wasn’t expecting to be quarterback,” he said. “At first I didn’t really want to. This whole past offseason I have been training and working hard to become a better wide receiver. But I’ve got to look at the team. … This is what’s best for the team. This is what I’m going to do.”

Merk plans to be right beside his teammate on the sidelines.

“I’ll be helping out the new quarterbacks,” Merk said. “Hunter is going to be playing a lot. We’re really close and I’m going to be helping him out a lot.”

Senior Cameron Osbjornsen is shifting from tight end to running back to join sophomore Kobe Gavagan and freshmen Nolan Martin in the backfield.

“In this option offense, you can either go with little quick guys (Gavagan and Martin) or you can go with a bruiser,” Thomas said. “(Osbjornsen) is the bruiser. He’s the thunder. It’ll be interesting to see how people handle it.”

Osbjornsen noted that Bollschweiler’s experience is making a difference with the offense and the flexbone option.

“I feel like Hunter is able to lead the offense a lot better,” he said. “He’s very vocal. He’s willing to tell people where to go. He’s already showing great skills now.

“I feel like we have great potential to go far this year.”


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