December 2, 1997 in Sports

Little Man Now Gives Greyhounds Big Bite Brown Major Weapon For Pullman In Its Title Quest

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Nate Brown gave up football a couple years ago because he thought he was too small.

Now Brown is back and is a big dog for Pullman. He’s the Greyhounds’ leading receiver, starting cornerback, punter and place kicker.

No doubt he’ll play a crucial role when the fifth-ranked Greyhounds take on No. 3 Elma for the State 2A championship Saturday.

The 10 a.m. game is one of six at Gridiron Classic III in the Tacoma Dome. The B-8 and 3A games are scheduled for Friday.

Brown was the quarterback for the Class of ‘98 through his freshman year and current Greyhounds QB Aaron Linehan was his favorite receiver.

“I didn’t feel I was really big enough or ready to play,” the 5-foot-7, 160-pound Brown said. “I wasn’t into football then; I really liked basketball. I found out I couldn’t stay away from it.

“They struggled a little bit. A lot of guys told me I should be out there, size didn’t matter. I was pretty fast and had a lot of strength. I decided to give it a shot.”

Brown didn’t expect to be the quarterback when he returned, but he made his decision early enough to work out with Linehan in the summer.

With Linehan having an all-league season, the Greyhounds won the Frontier League. Brown learned his craft from offensive MVP Forrest Hurlburt and L.C. Baxter.

This season it was Brown’s turn and he responded with 56 catches for 1,128 yards and 16 touchdowns. He credited mentors more than previous experience at quarterback for his success.

“When you’re young, freshman, eighth grade, you don’t really learn how to read (defenses),” he said. “I learned a lot from guys I was behind last year. We just worked real hard this summer; worked on timing, routes… . I’m just glad to be his go-to guy.”

Linehan, an all-leaguer last year, was named Most Valuable Player in the new Great Northern League. He has thrown for 2,050 yards and 26 touchdowns with six interceptions, obviously cashing in on the opening Brown gave him.

“(Circumstances) gave Aaron a shot to be the quarterback; he was the only quarterback of that group,” Pullman coach Bill Christie said. “That gave Linehan a chance to get out there and get a year of experience and prove that he can play.”

Brown’s impact is obvious.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” Christie said.

That, plus the fact he plays both ways and handles all kicking chores. He averaged 36.6 yards a punt, made both field goal attempts and was 46-58 on PATs.

Last year’s first-round playoff defeat fueled the Greyhounds’ fire this year, along with an early season loss to Chewelah.

“After our playoff game we were pretty bitter,” he said. “We thought we could do a lot better. We worked hard. We knew we had talent and speed coming back, but with a new league, you never know what to expect. We sure thought we could go a long way if everything worked out, and it did.”

There were a few doubts after blowing a big lead against Chewelah and losing 36-33 the second week of the season. The Greyhounds responded with a 42-0 drubbing of Medical Lake the next week.

“When we played Medical Lake back in third game they had fourth-and-goal from about an inch and we shut them down,” Brown said. “That’s when I felt we could make it. We didn’t feel too good after the Chewelah game.”

Elma poses much different problems than anyone the Greyhounds have faced. Quarterback Ben Dougherty threw for a state single-game record 513 yards midway through the season. He’s considered one of the top QB prospects in the state with Washington State, Purdue, Brigham Young and Colorado State bidding for his services. Dougherty, 6-3, 210, has thrown for 3,142 yards with 39 TDs and 15 interceptions.

“We haven’t seen too much passing yet this year, at least not in a while,” Brown said. “That’s what we’re going to have to watch out for.”

Playing defense doesn’t affect Brown’s offense, though he would prefer to play receiver if he had to chose one.

“I like it, it keeps you in good shape,” he said. “You get to make a difference on both sides of the field, which is good.”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo

MEMO: These 2 sidebars appeared with the story:

1. THE GAME

Pullman vs. Elma, Saturday, 10 a.m., Tacoma

2. STARTERS FOR 11-1 PULLMAN GREYHOUNDS

Offense

WR Nate Brown, 5-7, 160, sr

OT Greg Simpson, 6-1, 195, sr

OG Bill Weed, 6-1, 195, sr

C Tyler Brown, 6-0, 205, jr

OG D.J. Hammond, 5-11, 175, sr

OT John Smerdon, 5-11, 225, sr

TE J.D. Morscheck, 6-0, 189, so

WR Josh Bryan, 6-1, 171, jr

Slot Cole Sheridan, 5-11, 170, jr

QB Aaron Linehan, 5-10, 150, sr

RB Leonel Dorvil, 5-11, 185, jr

K N. Brown

Defense

DE T. Brown

DT Jake Wilson, 5-8, 235, sr

DT Jim Heimbigner, 6-0, 200, sr

DE Hammond

OLB Sheridan

ILB - Morscheck

ILB - Weed

OLB - Andy Brindemour, 6-2, 174, so

CB - N. Brown

CB - Bray

S - Linehan

P - N. Brown

These 2 sidebars appeared with the story:

1. THE GAME Pullman vs. Elma, Saturday, 10 a.m., Tacoma

2. STARTERS FOR 11-1 PULLMAN GREYHOUNDS Offense WR Nate Brown, 5-7, 160, sr OT Greg Simpson, 6-1, 195, sr OG Bill Weed, 6-1, 195, sr C Tyler Brown, 6-0, 205, jr OG D.J. Hammond, 5-11, 175, sr OT John Smerdon, 5-11, 225, sr TE J.D. Morscheck, 6-0, 189, so WR Josh Bryan, 6-1, 171, jr Slot Cole Sheridan, 5-11, 170, jr QB Aaron Linehan, 5-10, 150, sr RB Leonel Dorvil, 5-11, 185, jr K N. Brown

Defense DE T. Brown DT Jake Wilson, 5-8, 235, sr DT Jim Heimbigner, 6-0, 200, sr DE Hammond OLB Sheridan ILB - Morscheck ILB - Weed OLB - Andy Brindemour, 6-2, 174, so CB - N. Brown CB - Bray S - Linehan P - N. Brown


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