Five Key Players
RB/S Kejuan Coleman (5’10, 183) – Coleman is one of the most talented athletes in the WESCO league. He’s got great quickness and sure hands. He knows how to score. His biggest asset though is his football intelligence. Coleman was used primarily out of the backfield last fall – 115 carries for 886 yards and 10 scores – and that is the role he will fill as a senior this season. He’s a two-way star though as he also amassed 72 tackles from his free safety spot and he’s expected to be a leader for the Bruins in the secondary as well.
QB Malik Rackliff (6’0, 210) – The senior-to-be will be asked to take a new role this fall after spending the 2013 season at receiver and linebacker. Rackliff is a very good athlete and he’s going to have to fill some big shoes now that Josh Smith has gone on to play for South Alabama.
OL Joshua Watson (6’5, 250) – The junior is expected to move from left to right tackle this fall and he’ll be asked to lead the way for a ground game that will be relied upon heavily this fall. Watson has good feet and he plays with a nasty demeanor.
OL/DL Kelsi Colon (6’0, 230) – Colon is a two-way linemen for the Bruins and the coaches see him as a difference-maker in both roles. He’s a three-year starter and he’s one of the reasons that Cascade should have a very good running game this fall.
WR/LB Hamilton Kendrick (6’1, 180) – Kendrick is a fun player to watch. He plays much bigger than his size would indicate and he’s a kid who will be expected to be a heavy contributor not only outside from his wideout spot, but also out of the slot and as an outside linebacker on defense.
The Cascade football program was one of the most storied in the state two decades ago, but years of mismanagement, redistricting and bad coaching doomed them to the cellar of the WESCO 4A standings. Then came Joe Cronin and he brought with him a can-do attitude while taking the Bruins back to their roots – hard-nosed, blue-collar football with an emphasis on the team and not the individual.
Cronin stepped down this spring to spend more time with his family, but, luckily, the Bruins had a leader to fill the void in one of Cronin’s top assistant coaches, Eric Dinwiddie.
Dinwiddie’s first task as head coach was to find a replacement for “Mr. Everything” Josh Smith who headed to South Alabama after finishing up his senior season last fall.
To fill that void at the helm of the Cascade attack, Dinwiddie will hand over the reigns over to Malik Rackliff, a dual-threat athlete with a good arm and outstanding running ability.
The nice thing for Rackliff is that he won’t need to shoulder the burden of being the only producer out of the backfield. Joining him will be senior tailback Kejuan Coleman, an All-League performer with the ability to make guys miss in open space and take it the distance anytime he gets his hands on the ball.
Also getting carries, either from the slot or out of the backfield, will be both senior Hamilton Kendrick and juniors Andrew Sibley and Spencer Bowlden.
Sibley is an intriguing player with a lot of talent, but he’ll likely miss the first couple games of the season while he gets back to health from an injury. Bowlden is a smart kid with some untapped talent that will see plenty of opportunities to make plays.
A player to keep an eye on this fall is sophomore TE Eric Billings, a 6’3, 240-pounder, with outstanding athleticism and size. He’ll be asked to serve as an extra offensive lineman in the running game, but with his sneaky speed he should be able to be a nice redzone threat for Rackliff.
Cascade lost its best offensive lineman, Randin Crecelius, to graduation, but they still return some maulers up front.
Junior Josh Watson will make the move from left tackle to right tackle this season and Kelsi Colon, a three-year starter, will hold down one of the guard spots.
Along the defensive line, Billings and Colon will be asked to hold down two of spots and there will be several other players rotated through to hold tough against their opponents.
Andrey Nefedov holds down the middle linebacker spot for Cascade and he’s a big-time leader there while Kendrick will man one of the outside spots.
In the secondary, Coleman is one of the leaders in the deep patrol while Sibley and Bowlden will also be asked to fill roles there as well.
Bottom Line: Cascade has been building their program back to respectability over the past five years and they seem to be picking up some momentum. With Dinwiddie taking over, the program shouldn’t miss a beat and if Rackliff can be a competent trigger-man for the Bruins, he could take them to new heights. A battle with Jackson for the WESCO 4A title and berth in the 4A state playoffs isn’t out of the question.
@ Jackson (9/19)
Vs. Lake Stevens (10/3)
Vs. Kamiak (10/31)