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CHS team up to the challenge
DUVALL - The Cedarcrest Red Wolves have worked hard since spring, getting in shape for fall football, and head coach Eric Hanson thinks their efforts will pay off, despite a daunting start to their season.
"We have a tough schedule right out of the box, so that will definitely be a challenge," Hanson said.
The season opener is against Mercer Island on Sept. 7, and then CHS plays Skyline and Bellevue the next two weeks.
Last year Skyline not only won the KingCo League Championship by going 9-0, but the 3A Washington State football championships. Mercer Island was second in KingCo, only losing one game (8-1), and Bellevue was third with a 6-3 record.
The closest the Red Wolves came to competing with one of those teams during a game last year was when they scored one touchdown against Skyline in a 28-7 loss.
Hanson said he is in awe of the time and dedication his team has put in the off season.
"They've worked harder in the offseason that just about any other team I've been associated with. I've never seen any other Cedarcrest team so [ready]. Their excited - their fired up."
By the time they play Mount Si in the Valley Cup on Nov. 2, they should be even more fired up. They will be competing to keep the Valley Cup for the third time in a row.
"We'll compete," Hanson said. "We're gonna do everything we can to hang on to that Valley Cup."
Their spring training consisted of three weeks of practice in their football gear and pads, and this summer they attended a team camp at Central Washington University. They also participated in a team lock-down - where they spent several days at the school spending time together to work on unity. They played football, basketball and held various contests.
"It's important for our kids to stay healthy and believe that they can [succeed]," Hanson said.
Three KingCo honorable-mention players return to the team from the 2000 campaign. Aaron O'Neal will play running back and linebacker, Curtis Coe will play offensive lineman and defensive lineman and Tommy Harding will play running back and defensive back.
Senior Sean McDonald will start at quarterback, and sophomores Russell McGinnis and Brad Saunders will be his back-ups.
The team will be knee-deep in receivers, with Thomas Barrett, Brett deVries, DJ Harding, Tyler Tarte, Zach Taylor, Dan Benson, Tyler Connelly, Kyle Eldred and others.
The offensive linemen will consist of Chris Ansell, Cole Birk, Coe, Jason Farmer, Keegan Grady, Cory Heston, Tony Stedman, Kyle Carrigan, Coy Chittenden, Ly Vong, Russell Knight, Sean Merz and a handful of others.
For defense, Josh Rosen, Dashiell Hei, Elliot Howell, Tyler Johnson, Sean Mace, Joe Richards, Tyler Romppannen and Jeff Scofield will help shore up the line.
At linebacker you can expect to see Tommy Felts, O'Neal, Trevor Spier, Justin Stockert, Brad Petty, Alan Schultz, Robby Westermann, Colby Fletcher, Daniel Gustat and Eli Hotchkiss.
Covering the secondary will be defensive backs Barrett, deVries, McDonald, Tarte, Taylor, Benson, Connelly, Eldred, Harding, Dan Merrick, Cody Pettersen, Glen Trowbridge, Jake Ballingham, Tyler Barnhart, Joe Carroll, Shawn King, McGinnis and Jesse Pettersen.
This will be the Hanson's first year as head coach. He spent the previous two years as Art Kuehn's offensive coordinator.