The downslide in high school enrollment continues to play havoc on the Chewelah Cougar football team. A disappointing turnout of only 35 gridders attended the first week of workouts. This number was less than the head count of girls showing up for the first day of volleyball practice on Monday.
There were 38 girls at volleyball practice.
“We currently have about nine from every grade level,” said Coach Levi Hogan. “However, we expect to grow to over 40 in the next week or so. Some of the younger kids that we expect to join the team have not showed up yet because of late family vacations.”
Coach Hogan scrubbed two-a-day practices the first week in favor of one two-hour workout per day.
“Our focus the first week was to increase the intensity and the tempo of practice and to instill in them an aggressive work ethic,” said Hogan. “We wanted the boys to be moving all the time whenever we were on the field. Unless we were in team meetings, we were on the move.”
Again, this season’s Cougars will have to rely on team speed, because there are few players with size.
“We have good team speed,” said Hogan. “We are small, but quick. We have the speed and quickness necessary for the offense and defense we will run. The kids are adjusting to the new offense and to the new defensive schemes we will use this year.
“Our mentality size-wise going into the season is that we are going to have to chop down some really big trees.”
Because of their lack of team size, the Cougars will have to be much more aggressive on both sides of the ball.
“We will have to be constantly in attack mode,” said Hogan. “Our plan is to be much more aggressive, especially on defense.”
After one week of workouts, there are still positions that are up for grabs.
“There are still openings for sophomores to fill,” said Hogan. “They are nipping at the heels of the older players.”
Coach Hogan and his staff will get their first look at the team in action this Friday evening at the annual football jamboree in Deer Park, beginning at 5 p.m.
Starting on Monday, the Cougars will be preparing for their first game of the season when Bridgeport comes to Snyder Field on Friday, September 2, at 7 p.m.
The Mustangs are from the Central Washington 2B League.
Then, the Chewelah gridders immediately enter into Northeast A League play with three consecutive home games against Riverside, Newport, and Freeman on the following three Friday nights. After the Freeman game, renovation will commence on the Snyder Field complex with the construction of a new all-weather track and football facility. Thus, the remaining four Cougar football games will be on the road at Deer Park, Lakeside, Medical Lake, and Colville, in that order.
By Geno Ludwig/The Independent Staff