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Colton has speed to challenge for Southeast 1B League title

Here’s the thing about eight-man football: the gridiron’s the same size, but it definitely plays bigger.

When you have just eight players to defend sideline to sideline, there will be plenty of gaps to attack, especially if you have a speedy running back or fleet-footed receivers.

“That’s a lot of green,” Colton coach Clark Vining said. “That’s why I think you see that the team with the faster guys always seems to get the better of the team with the bigger guys.”

Last year the teams with the faster guys were Liberty Christian and Touchet. The Patriots won the state title game, scoring the winning touchdown with no time left on the clock against Neah Bay. Touchet lost on the final play of its quarterfinal game with Cusick at Gonzaga Prep.

Colton returns the league’s top quarterback in Jake Straughan, who has a powerful arm and quick feet.

“The thing about Jake is that he was pretty much learning on the job last year,” Vining said. “His brother was a four-year starter for us before that. He had experience when he was younger, but he stepped in as a junior and just got better as the year went along. He has a strong arm. He has great mobility and can do some things running the ball for us. And he has great football savvy. He’s grown up with football with his older brother – who’s now a starter at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Ala.”

Senior Levi Weber will anchor the offensive and defensive lines along with juniors Phil Niehenke and Austin Staley. The Wildcats have a bevy of receivers to choose from and Vining expects freshman running back Grant Kinzer to have an impact.