(By Geno Ludwig/Chewelah Independent)
With only a 15-minute game at Bridgeport in the rear view mirror, Coach Levi Hogan and his staff are scratching their heads, trying to evaluate the strength of this year’s Chewelah Cougar football team. A lopsided 44-0 victory in a game that lasted only one quarter left little on film to assess. The Cougars scored every time they touched the football, and shorthanded Bridgeport finished the engagement with negative yardage. Maybe this week’s game against Liberty Christian will give more feedback. If not, Coach Hogan will have to wait another week when the league season begins at Newport.
On paper, Chewelah seems to have a more competitive team this fall. There is more size and poundage on the line and there is speed and experience in the backfield. However, with only 36 players on the roster, the key to success will be keeping the starters on both sides of the ball healthy, because the reserves are limited.
The Cougar offensive line is anchored by center Kolten Cairns, at 6’4” and just under 350 pounds. He has improved his quickness, strength, aggressiveness, and mobility since last season and will be a dominating factor in the middle of the forward wall. Joining Cairns up front are tackle Wade Baker (6’5”, 280), tackle Dawson Largin (6’2”), 240), guard Loren Olson (5’10”, 250), and guard Robbie Hopkins (5’11”, 190). Freshman Cole Davis (5’10”, 220) looked good on film after the jamboree and will be a positive factor on the line as the season progresses. Dylan Walser (6’0”, 165) Eli Flottman (6’1”, 200), and Sam Triplett (5’9”, 240) will also be seeing action. The success of this season’s team will depend largely on keeping these guys healthy for every game. Their back-ups come in much smaller packages.
Running a triple-option offense puts pressure on the opposing defense. It becomes a guessing game that is solved step-by-step. Did the quarterback hand the ball to the fullback, or did he keep it, or did he pitch it, or is he going to throw it? This offense forces defensive players to make one decision after another, and it is the Cougar quarterback’s job to make sure that they make the wrong decision. Owen Baldwin is becoming a master magician at making defensive players make the wrong decisions. In his second year at quarterback, at 6’0” and 190 pounds, he is always a threat to run the ball. Sophomore Jake Jeanneret is Baldwin’s backup QB.
Fullback Kaden Mackowiak scored three times at Bridgeport. If he would have stayed in the game longer, he probably would have scored once or twice more. Although he is only 5’10” and 150 pounds, he has natural quickness, maneuverability, and breakaway speed. Jensen Holloway and Nolan Hansen share those same athletic capabilities at the wings. John Larson, Dylan Davis, Kaden Krouse, and Kade Frizzell will be competing for playing time.
Effectively running the ball will hopefully open up the Cougar passing attack. Baldwin threw two touchdown passes at Bridgeport, one to Hanson and one to Dakota Kroiss. The good hands people also include Griffin Stroyan, Holloway, Larson, and possibly 6’2” freshman Nick Franks.
At the beginning of the season, the Chewelah offensive lineup and defensive lineup will mostly include the same names in different positions on the other side of the ball. The Cougars will remain in their three-four defense with three down linemen, four linebackers, and a four-man defensive secondary. This year, Coach Cody Peone appears to have the right players in the right places to make it work. The focus this season is on aggressiveness at every position. Last Friday’s film showed a lot of new linebacker, safety and corner blitzes that Bridgeport did not see coming, resulting in losses of yardage.
The first three league games against Newport, Freeman, and Deer Park will give a better indication of how the Cougars will do in conference play. Last year, overall, they were 3-6. It would be nice to have those two numbers switch places this season.
2017 FOOTBALL ROSTER
3. John Larson,Junior 5-9, 165
4. Jensen Holloway, Senior 5-9, 150
6. Jake Jeanneret, Soph. 5-8, 170
7. Tucker Robinson, Soph. 5-8, 140
8. Nik Dehnel, Fresh. 5-8, 130
10. Dylan Davis, Senior 5-10, 150
11. Nick Shierloh, Soph. 6-0, 160
13. Jaron Baldwin, Soph. 5-7, 130
21. Griffin Stroyan, Senior 6-1, 160
22. Nick Franks, Fresh. 6-1, 160
25. Kaden Mackowiak, Junior 5-10, 145
26. Matthan Finley, Fresh. 5-7, 140
27. Nolan Hansen, Junior 6-0, 160
37. Kade Frizzell, Fresh. 6-0, 150
44. Kaden Krouse, Fresh. 5-10, 170
46. Tyler Wright, Junior 5-8, 145
48. Owen Baldwin, Senior 6-0, 190
50. Robbie Hopkins, Junior 5-11, 185
51. Cole Davis, Fresh. 5-10, 220
53. Andrew Sweat, Fresh. 5-9, 160
55. Gunnar Hofstetter, Fresh. 5-10, 170
56. Dylan Walser, Senior 6-0, 160
64. Sam Triplett, Soph. 5-8, 240
65. Josh Piepgras, Fresh. 5-9, 170
66. Colton Hughes, Fresh. 5-8, 180
70. Eli Flottman, Senior 6-1, 195
74. Dawson Largin, Senior 6-2, 240
75. Kolten Cairns, Senior 6-4, 350
76. Zack Rindlisbacher, Junior 5-7, 190
77. Loren Olson, Junior 5-9, 250
78. David Bailey, Soph. 5-8, 170
79. Wade Baker, Junior 6-5, 280
80. Alex Maldonado, Junior 5-7, 140
82. Ryan Marang, Fresh. 5-10, 130
84. Edward Eriksson, Senior 6-0, 140
85. Christian Caldwell, Junior 6-0, 150
86. Gabe Armento, Senior 5-7, 140
87. Nick Skok, Fresh. 5-9, 150
89. Dakota Kroiss, Senior 6-2, 180
Head Coach – Levi Hogan
Assistants – Cody Peone, Cameron Gump, Tom Skok, Jason Tapia
Volunteers – Matt Robertson,