Warriors seeking turnaround

rochester: Back-to-back 1-win seasons don’t dissuade first-year coach from envisioning success

mwochnick@theolympian.comAugust 22, 2012 

If there’s one thing Chris Barnes wants the football community of Rochester to know, it’s that he’s not going anywhere.

“I’ll be here,” Barnes said. “The kids have to see I’m going to be there for them.”

Program stability hasn’t been strong at Rochester the past few seasons. Barnes, a physical education teacher at Grand Mound Elementary School, is the program’s third coach in three years, but he’s not new to the program. He was Rochester’s offensive coordinator in 2011 under then-coach Tom Griggs, who departed for Riverside High near Spokane.

The Warriors had a pair of one-win seasons in 2010 and 2011, and changing the losing culture is atop Barnes’ list. He believes that, despite the previous two seasons, getting the program up to the ranks of the elite – such as 1A powerhouse Montesano – is not far-fetched.

“It’s a program that definitely needs to be built,” Barnes said. “I have a lot of energy. I’m ready to do what’s necessary.”

He is a native of Forks, and was a senior on the Spartans’ 2000 state quarterfinal team that lost to eventual state runner-up Meridian.

Barnes’ record of success goes back to his five-year stint as the running backs coach at Black Hills. He helped coach Cody Peterson, who rushed for 2,138 yards as a senior in 2009, as the Wolves advanced to the first round of the 2A state playoffs. Peterson now is a sophomore at Navy, and Barnes is quick to point out how his players can accomplish similar feats.

“They’re pretty special,” Barnes said.

The football mindset has already changed under Barnes. Around 60 players turned out for the team’s spring practices in May, two weeks after he was hired.

It appears to be a solid beginning toward achieving Barnes’ lofty goals.

“I think we can get there,” he said. “I really do.”

Home games in CAPS. All games at 7 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 31: RIDGEFIELD

Friday, Sept. 7: R.A. LONG

Friday, Sept. 14: at Rainier *

Friday, Sept. 21: at Hoquiam *

Friday, Sept. 28: ELMA *

Friday, Oct. 5: MONTESANO *

Friday, Oct. 12: at Forks *

Friday, Oct. 19: at Stevenson

Friday, Oct. 26: TENINO * About the warriors

Coach: Chris Barnes, first season

2011 record: 1-8 overall.

Offense: Coordinator (set) – Chris Barnes (spread). Returning starters – 7. Top players: QB/DB Tyler Gedney, 6-1, 195, jr.; RB/DB Tyler Yarber, 5-7, 150, jr.; WR/DB Alex Markva, 5-8, 135, sr.; OL Colton Smith, 6-3, 190, sr.

Defense: Coordinator (set) – AJ Easley (4-4). Returning starters – 7. Top players: DT Matt Shields, 5-7, 220, so.; LB Jacob Lambert, 5-11, 195, jr.

Outlook: Barnes is the Warriors’ third coach in three seasons. Winning has been hard to come by for Rochester, which was a combined 2-16 in the past two seasons. Gedney, the starting QB, hasn’t played a full season since 2010. He played in one series last season before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury.

mwochnick@theolympian.com 360-754-5473 www.theolympian.com/southsoundsports @megwochnick * Southwest Washington 1A Evergreen game mwochnick@theolympian.com

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