With a host of new faces at key positions and in the coaching ranks, the Enumclaw High Hornets are ready to kick off the 2010 football season.
“My entire coaching staff thinks I am crazy as a loon for scheduling Yelm and Union away in the initial pair of games and Timberline and Capital home in games three and four,” Bartel said. But, the way he sees it, “we have no other recourse than to go up against the toughest competition we can find before we get into the SPSL 3A phase of the schedule.”
Bartel believes his crew should compete for one of the division’s three playoff spots, but knows Lakes, Bonney Lake and Peninsula were all good enough to make it to the post-season in 2009.
“Our goal, in this third year of the experiment, is to get into the playoffs and actually clear that first postseason hurdle, unlike the past two seasons,” Bartel said. “I really believe in this group of coaches and players. I feel that we have the potential to go at least that far and maybe even further.”
Starting at quarterback will be senior Dylan Podolak, who will undoubtedly win more contests with his arm than with his feet.
“Dylan is a true quarterback,” Bartel explained. “He has a live arm as well as great passing instincts and abilities. He also has a good head on his shoulders and has looked really sharp working with the No. 1 offense in practice.”
Joining Podolak in the backfield will be a stable of experienced running backs, each of whom has their own selling points.
Senior Andy Holdener, who is also the Hornets’ kicker, hits the holes quickly and decisively as does junior running mate Marcus Joslin. Tackling hard-nosed backfield cohort, senior Austin Grau though, is tantamount to wrestling a steer.
The running game will, as usual, be the bread and butter of the Hornet offensive attack, but it isn’t as though the cupboard is bare when it comes to receivers.
Heading the corps will be seniors Terrenn Houk and Trenton Disque.
Also making news in the offseason was the addition of three assistant coaches. The most notable is Mike Shepard, the former Kentlake High School football head coach, who was asked to step down as the 4A Falcons head coach in December.
“I suppose the Kent School District was looking to go in a different direction,” Bartel said of the way his longtime friend and acquaintance was asked to exit the program.
Shepard will coach the Hornet defensive front and help defensive coordinator Jason Patterson formulate schemes for thwarting the opposition’s progress.
Additionally, Shepard will aid line coach Matthew Gaynor.
Bartel also rolled out the carpet for retired Hornet teacher and coach Chuck Basteyns, who will be handed the reigns of the freshman program.
“I love Chuck’s knowledge and experience as a mentor to those young guys,” Bartel said. “Plus he has been around kids, education and sports in the Enumclaw School District all his life. When he speaks those kids listen, because they know he has been around for a long time and they truly respect him.”
In another coaching move, Tyson Gamblin will leave his press box nest in favor of roaming the sidelines as the running back and linebacker taskmaster.