Posted on Jan 21, 2023
Sports teams--especially winning ones--tend to generate strong community followings. Anacortes High School Head Football Coach, Justin Portz, joined us on Wednesday to share his team's remarkable journey that goes far beyond wins on the field (of which there were many). Since arriving in the "not a football town" of Anacortes, as he was told by a local parent in 2018 shortly before the varsity team disbanded, Coach Portz has planted and grown his philosophy about leading with love and being inclusive.  At AHS, if a kid of any skill level approaches him he'll find a role for that student either on the field or somewhere else--no one is cut. And if someone is in the program, it's his goal to make sure that kid feels safe and valued on the field and off.  The football family plays together, supports each other all year round, and the players work together in the summer to run a skills camp for youngsters.
Maybe that's why they finished 8 and 1 in the regular season including a 21-2 victory over mighty Archbishop Murphy! Maybe that's why recruiters from both WSU and the UW sat down with him to talk about his talented players.  We Rotarians would like to believe it was the club's 2019 grant towards new uniforms that helped put 'em over the top ;-)
Football is a tough sport and fewer parents want their kids playing because of the potential for injuries. But Coach Portz pointed out that because of the tackling techniques they teach, the team didn't have a single significant injury all season. Wow! Echoing Superintendent Justin Irish's comments, we are so lucky to have him here. Heck, Anacortes might just be a football town after all!