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Kalama's Sutton Moon, center, has shifted to middle linebacker and he's been key to the Chinooks' defensive success on their way to a return appearance in the state-title game. 

Kalama center and linebacker Sutton Moon knew there were some roster holes to fill entering the year, and he made it his goal to do just that.

Moon has been a rock along the center of the offense and defense during the defending champions’ run to the 2B State Championship, where they’ll face Napavine at 4 p.m. Friday in the Tacoma Dome.

“I think it really started for Sutton come playoff time last year,” offensive coordinator Brandon Walker said. “It just kind of came naturally for him. But as far as the weight room goes — and of course we’re going to revolve ourselves around Alex Dyer — but we really changed our mindset to we’re only going to go as far as our offensive line will take us.”

Asking Moon about it returns answers about how well others have played. Perhaps that’s a reason why coaches have raved about his leadership skill — both vocal and by example.

Watching him, even during a fairly mundane drill, it’s easy to see the fire in his eyes. It’s clear he has goals. Mostly, that’s just to play the best game he can — and he said as much about the championship round.

“I just want to do my job,” Moon said. “Get the team ready to go, get them pumped. Then, whatever happens, happens.”

That jives with everything he’s shown this year — whether it’s blowing up slants or blowing up a defensive tackle on a belly run. Another dependable guy following what’s become a number of dependable offensive linemen in Kalama.

“He was there last year,” coach Sean McDonald said. “But the ability to just move positions and play every dang snap of every dang game is just huge. He’s one of those guys, if I had 10 others, we’d be set mentality-wise and toughness-wise. He’s one of those guys where you ask him to go do anything, he’s going to go do it. So I think guys look up to him in that manner.”

Moon joined quarterback Alex Dyer in the locker room during a dreary halftime in Woodland to start the season, as Kalama trailed 41-14. There was a speech offered by the two, the theme being that everyone go out and play their best half.

Kalama nearly won that game.

“Sutton Moon is an unbelievable athlete. I think he’s demonstrated he’s kind of that utility kind of guy,” Walker said. “We had him inside, and then all of a sudden we put him at linebacker and he’s blowing plays up. He just has a unique knack for the ball and a really good leader for that defense.”

Moon’s transition to linebacker wasn’t a given after last season, though it’s not because he didn’t earn it.

“There’s stuff you pick up on film, and we’d had the conversation of who we’re going to put at middle linebacker,” Walker said. “And Sean always said, ‘I’d love to put Sutton there. But I don’t know who I’m going to replace him with on the d-line.’”

Noah Wakeman stepped up at defensive end, and it was settled from that point on.

So despite losing enough talent to doom most programs, Moon and company are back in the championship game seeking a second title in as many years.

And the Tigers might want to be wary of running a play to the middle of the field.

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Sports Reporter

Jason is a journeyman sports reporter who has covered the Golden State Warriors, Oakland A's, along with a heavy emphasis on the Oakland Raiders. He comes to Cowlitz County from Oakland, Calif. and is a loving father.

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