Shocker football season begins

Players gather around Coach Gray for instructions. Coach Kendrick looks on. (Joel Harding photo)

 

By Joel Harding

Beginning Aug. 20, the Waterville football team began practices. After several days of practice without pads, they began a series of five two-a-day workouts with pads and have settled into the usual after school practice schedule since school started on Aug. 27. The team will play eight-man football this year and, as a 2B school, will not be able to participate in post-season play. In spite of the higher classification in which Waterville has been placed, the numbers of students turning out make eight- man ball the best choice.

A new coach has been added for the team this year. Tayn Kendrick, a graduate of Waterville High School, returns to his alma mater. Kendrick has coached and taught at the large and fast-growing high school in Hermiston, Ore. and brings football coaching experience of more than a decade to the Shockers.

Waterville will have experience at most every position this year. Seniors Wyatt Mires and Rafael Capi return at halfback and wide receiver, respectively, and Alex Ludeman and Connor Poppie will play in the line. Nolan Ruud, a junior, will be the quarterback and classmates Andy Caballero, Lakin Thomsen and Matt McCullough return as linemen. Three other experienced players will be available after the first several games. At present there are two players from Mansfield and several more have expressed interest.

Sophomores Shaun Marchand, Tanner Marden, Dylan McCullough and Jesus Ruiz will play. Marden is expected to see a lot of action at running back. There are two frosh on the team, and in the absence of a junior high team six eighth graders will be on the team as well.

Coach and Athletic Director Mike Gray has done a Herculean job of creating a schedule. The season begins at Columbia High School at Hunters and includes Odessa-Harrington and Thorp-Easton twice, and Wellpinit, Pateros and Sunnyside Christian once. There are also several JV games. A shortage of officials may require a shift of several Friday games to Saturday. Gray is hoping to schedule a league-crossover game Nov. 7. The first home game is against Odessa-Harrington at Kellen Biggar Field Sept. 12.