Back-to-back years making the crossover round — and back to back losses there against Onalaska — have set a clear baseline for the Morton-White Pass football team. Now, facing turnover in the ranks, the challenge for the T-Wolves is sustainability.
“I think our group last year established the bar for us to achieve,” head coach Lee Metcalf said. “The past two years we’ve made the crossover and were knocked out, but they know that if we put in the work we’re capable. It’s just a matter of getting kids to gel and play together.”
Even before personnel changes, the sledding this year will be tougher with Ilwaco and Rainier moving down to the East/West lower division and taking two of MWP’s league wins with them.
On the plus side, the Timberwolves have Judah Kelly back in his second year at quarterback, giving them a veteran signal-caller to base the offense around.
“There won’t be a quarterback controversy this year; he’s the guy from Day 1,” Metcalf said.
Joining him among the ranks of returners will be Brecken Pelletier, the player Kelly beat out in a quarterback competition last season, who turned into the T-Wolves’ top threat on the perimeter.
Morton-White Pass will have to replace workhorse fullback Carter Dantinne — who also earned second-team all-league honors at linebacker and punter. Slotting into that role will be junior Samuel Sympson.
“He’s our weight-room maniac,” Metcalf said.
Outside, Kelly will have Tony Belgiorno and Dalton Milholland to throw to.
Up front presents a few more question marks for Metcalf and his coaching staff to figure out; the T-Wolves need to bring in just about a whole new starting line, and have only three upperclassmen in the position group, along with six sophomores and three freshmen.
“It all depends on how quickly that O-line comes together,” Metcalf said. “If we can get them to come together and run the football, everything else will be easier for us.”
MWP has already seen its schedule change, with a Week 1 Saturday matchup against La Conner turning into a Friday game against Toutle Lake. The T-Wolves are currently set for a Week 2 bye, after which they’ll come back with a huge league-opener at Forks.