Winless Wolves take a new approach to restore football glory

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. -- A new season means new beginnings for any team, but few football teams need a reset quite like the South Kitsap Wolves, owners of the longest losing streak in the state.

"Hey, we know where the program is,” says Wolves head coach Dan Ericson.

The team has 22 straight losses, dating back to 2016.

“Our motto is this year is BTC: Be the change,” Ericson says.

There's been a change at head coach in Ericson, but that's not exactly new. He's the Wolves' fifth head coach in eight seasons.

It's how he's approaching this season that has folks on the Peninsula optimistic. He's recruited some of the school's  top athletes, who avoided football in the past. The Wolves have 134 players on the field this year, 50 more than last year.

It wasn't always like this. Far from it. In the 70s, 80s and 90s, under head coach Ed Fisher, South Kitsap was a perennial powerhouse, a feared football factory. And now, desperate to change their football fortunes, they are bringing Fisher back.

At Friday's home opener against Rogers, the football field will be rededicated in honor of the legendary coach.

“I was just blown away by the whole thing when they told me they were thinking about doing this,” Fisher says. "It’s probably the most honoring thing you can do for an individual, especially in athletics -- name a field after you, that you coached on."

It’s a symbolic move to usher in a new era of Wolves football, by honoring the traditions of the past.

Just ask the men who coached or played under Coach Fisher what he meant to them.

"A father figure,” says Eric Canton, the dean of students at South Kitsap, who was an All-State defensive back under Coach Fisher. He’s also a former head coach at South Kitsap.

“He was someone that I really could go to and trust,” Canton says. “He also took me under his wing when I told him I want to become a coach and become an educator. He taught me how to do it.”

Canton is one of two former head coaches who have joined Dan Ericson's staff to refashion the program in the mold of Coach Fisher.

“That’s why I am so pleased with this whole thing,” Fisher says. “Yeah, I’m getting my name on the field there, but it’s really about this system.”