WRHS Hornets pumped up for 2011 football season

Under the tutelage of second-year coach Joe Sprouse, the White River Hornet football team will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2010 campaign.

A season ago, the Hornets boasted a lone victory, over Class 1A Orting, on the way to a 1-9 finish. But that’s water under the bridge, forgotten by a squad anxious to redeem itself.

“Every guy out there has a chip on his shoulder,” Sprouse said, noting his crew’s dissatisfaction with last season’s results.

As proof of the dedication to making things better, Sprouse looks to the weight room. Last season finished with a Thursday night loss, he said, and players were pumping iron the following day. A season ago, only two Hornets could bench press 225 pounds, Sprouse said, but he now has two who have surpassed the 300-pound barrier. There’s a swarm of Hornets pressing 225.

But football games aren’t won in the weight room alone.

It takes talent and experience to succeed, and it appears the pieces are in place for White River move up the South Puget Sound League 2A standings. Eighteen starting players are back for another campaign, nine on each side of the ball.

Offensively, junior quarterback Zach McMillen returns to the starting role. If he’s not throwing the ball, he can hand it to returning backs Josh Miller and Nate Lenhart.

A strength is the offensive line, particularly the left side. Holding down the line is Scott Rose. The 6-foot-4, 285-pound Rose has garnered early attention, billed as one of the better O-linemen in the area. Last season, playing injured, he earned second team all-league honors. He’ll be joined by 6-2, 240-pound Blake Maresh, giving the Hornets plenty of size and experience on the left side.

“We’re big up front,” Sprouse said, “and we’re going to be physical.”

He’s equally excited about the defensive side, which appears comfortable with the schemes that were new a season ago.

“There will be less thinking and more attacking,” said Sprouse, who was an all-state linebacker during his White River career.

The Hornets will be tested early, hosting the neighboring Bonney Lake Panthers at 7 p.m. Friday. A larger school, Bonney Lake placed second in the South Puget Sound League 3A last year, winning a handful of games by 25 points or more. Returning quarterback Chris Brown leads the Panther offense.


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