Last month, the Local Sports Journal published a 24-page high school football preview section. Here is the preview story on the Grand Haven Buccaneers. If you would like to purchase a copy of the football section, send an email to [email protected]
By David Tomczak
Local Sports Journal
Grand Haven coach Mike Farley isn’t concerned with the inexperience his team will have on offense this season.
He’s been through it before.
New quarterback and new faces seemingly blend right into the Bucs’ way of doing things.
But just to make sure that the Buccaneers’ offense can be as explosive as it has been during Grand Haven’s run of three straight playoff seasons, Farley is adding more firepower to that side of the ball.
How? By adding a top player from the defense.
Isaak Newhouse, a junior free safety on the Bucs’ defense, will now get a chance at wide receiver, adding another weapon for Farley’s offense.
“He’s the best athlete we have,” Farley said. “We felt like we had to get the ball in his hands as much as possible.”
As a sophomore, Newhouse was Grand Haven’s starting free safety, a position he will man again this year. He made the defensive calls for the Bucs and was among the team’s leading tacklers.
“He’s our quarterback on defense,” Farley said. “But he’s adapted really well to (wide receiver). He’s very smart and very physical.”
Newhouse, who also is the Bucs’ long-snapper and punt returner, is looking forward to joining the offense.
“The coaching staff let me know this past winter that they wanted me at wide receiver,” Newhouse said. “I wanted to play on offense, and it’s been a fun transition.”
With only returning one starter, Newhouse will be just one part of an overhauled offense, but he figures if great Grand Haven teams of the past few years can overcome the loss of seniors, so can this year’s squad.
“We were in a similar situation like this last year,” the junior said. “But if we continue to work hard everything should work out.”
He will be working with a new quarterback this season, looking to hook up with senior signal caller Mike
Penlend on what the pair hope are numerous touchdown passes.
Penlend takes over at quarterback for Scott Staal, who set school records for passing yards and passing touchdowns, and is already looking forward to throwing to Newhouse.
“(Isaak is) one of the quickest learners on the team,” Penlend said. “He picked up the offense quick. He’s an all-around athlete and he’ll be a good target to have.”
Despite the inexperience that he’ll be dealing with, Farley isn’t too worried about the Bucs clicking on both sides of the ball.
Last year’s junior varsity team finished 8-1, and every player on the team has been through the system that has made Grand Haven so successful in the past three seasons. They finished third in the OK Red in 2010 and a game behind Rockford last year.
Newhouse, who also plays basketball for the Bucs, said he feels the team can pick up where it left off.
“We can compete and should strive for a (conference) title,” Newhouse said. “It’ll be a lot of fun and a lot of hard work, but we’ll try to do everything that’ll help us win.”