Neah Bay High School and Lummi Nation High School are rival
Native high schools in Washington State. But they have a few more
things in common.
Neah Bay won the Washington State 1A Football Championship this
fall for the second time in three years; Lummi Nation won it in
2010, and has made it to State several years in a row.
Lummi High has about 100 students and Neah Bay Jr./Sr. High
has about 168 and because of these small enrollment numbers, 8-man
football is preferred for these rival schools over the traditional
version of that varsity sport.
There is no difference as far as the rules, said
Lummi Nation Head Coach Jim Sandusky. There are three less
guys on the field, so instead of seven guys on the line, you have
to have at least five. Thats pretty much it.
Lummi Nation is a tribal school located just a few miles from
the Canadian line. Neah Bay, a state school, is located on the northwestern
tip of Washington. Both football teams came into prominence in recent
years and their proximity to each other has created a friendly rivalry.
And arguably, the success at each school can be traced back
to the two coaches: Tony McCaulley at Neah Bay and Sandusky at Lummi
a Colville descendent, coached Ferndale youth football. He built
a football field on his own property because there was no place
for the football players to practice. His son Rocky was on the youth
team that he coached, as well as Jake Locker, now quarterback for
the Tennessee Titans in the NFL.
In 2003, Sandusky was hired as Lummi's coach and athletic director.
That year, they went 4-5 and missed the playoffs in the last game
of the season. Ever since , weve made it,
said Sandusky, explaining that the team has made it to the playoffs
every year since then.
McCaulleys coaching career was somewhat similar to Sanduskys.
His son Ty started youth football and McCaulley coached him. He
coached and played at Clallam Bay, a rival school just down the
road from Neah Bay. Hes been coaching Red Devils for six years.
Weve been to the state semi-finals five of the six
years. The worst year I had [was when] we lost in the state quarter-finals,"
McCaulley said. But, Neah Bay was dominant this year. We were
undefeated and blew a lot of teams out, McCaulley said.
Many of the Red Devils players have played together since eighth
grade and all but one of the 39 players are Makah tribal members.
Two players in particular are looking to play college football next
year. One is the coachs son, Ty, who plays fullback and the
other is Josiah Greene, the quarterback.
At Lummi, only a few players have been on that team since 8th
grade. Dean Hoskins started for me ever since he was an 8th
grader, Sandusky said. He just got All-State selection
along with two other of our kids.
Note the similarities: Each community had youth football programs
with fathers coaching the kids. Sandusky and McCaulley were then
hired by the schools to coach high school football. Since those
two coaches have taken over, each program has had rather remarkable
success: high ratios of wins to losses, and state championship wins
with teams made up almost entirely of Native American players.
If Jake Locker can make it to the pros, then why not Ty or Josiah
or Dean or Rocky or one of the other outstanding 8-man Native American
high school football players.