ATHENA — Kenzie Hansell has returned to the Weston-McEwen football fold as head varsity coach with the intent of repeating past successes at the Oregon Class 2A School.
Hansell led the TigerScots to four postseason appearances — including a semifinal berth in 2011 — between 2008 and 2013.
To say that anticipation for the upcoming season is at a fever pitch would be an understatement. One might get that impression after speaking to the exuberant Hansell.
“I’m excited to be back,” said Hansell, who played collegiately at Walla Walla Community College and Washington State. “It is an honor to be the head coach.
“We’re implementing a new offense and new defense,” Hansell said. “The student-athletes (at or around 40) are excited and have been working hard all summer. They’ve been dedicated in the weight room. We’re implementing things that worked in the past and will put us in a position to compete this upcoming year. We’re working on getting better every single day. The community is behind us. The atmosphere is there.”
Those competing to start on either the offensive or defensive line, or both, include “a lot of underclassmen and a lot of young guys,” Hansell said. “It’s an ongoing competition.”
Heading up the group are seniors Anthony Flores (6-foot-1, 210 pounds) and Calvin Papineau (6-1, 245). Juniors are Zack Buckles (6-2, 235), Kaleb Robinson (6-1, 250), Harry Shaul (6-1, 180), and Parker Ainsworth (6-0, 165). The sophomore class is represented by Brian Day (5-10, 190), Thomas Holuka (5-9, 160), Jayden Stroe (6-2, 180), Dixie Turk (5-7, 130), and Clay Wilson (5-9, 155). Completing the list are freshmen Finn Irvine (5-8, 225), Seth Lynde (5-7, 190), Andrew McDowell (5-8, 150), and Otto Quaempts (6-0, 190).
Hansell sees a trio — one senior and a pair of sophomores — as possible contributors at the tight end position. They are Kellen McGill (6-1, 190), and underclassmen Shawn Wilbourn (5-9, 170) and Peyton McLouth (6-3, 160).
Potential wide receivers and defensive back candidates include Kassai Ly (6-1, 175), juniors LeBraun Albert (5-11, 165), Ayden Jennings (5-9, 145), Hunter Lantz (5-9, 145), and Isaac Wood (5-7, 140), sophomores Taylor McGill (5-6, 135) and Theo White (6-1, 175), and freshman Cody Boede (5-5, 130).
Two seniors — Hadden Ball (5-8, 145) and Blair Rudolph (5-8, 150); one junior — Nevin Malchow (5-10, 165; and a handful of sophomores — Chase Fehrenbacker (5-6, 135), Levie Philips (5-8, 140), Peyton Sincleir (5-9, 155), Alex Williams (5-8, 140) and Aiden Wolf (5-8, 135) — are cited by Hansell as running backs and/or linebackers.
Sophomore Blane Peal (6-0, 175), and freshmen Cameron Reich (5-9, 135) and Dylan Youncs (6-0, 140) will contend for both the quarterback and defensive back slots, Hansell said.
“We’re going to throw the ball to run and run to throw,” Hansell said. “These are position-open practices. We have high-tempo kids who want reps. The quarterbacks want snaps. As a coach, you can’t as for anything more. There is a lot of dedication. I’m ecstatic with where we’re at.
“We’re going to fly around on defense,” Hansell said. “We’re working on being fundamentally sound, form tackling, and (having) fun.
“We’re moving kids around a lot,” Hansell said. “Our seniors have an obligation to leave the program in better shape. We’re stressing family first, school second, and football third.”
Weston-McEwen opens its 2019 season Sept. 6 at Central Linn. Its home opener is Thursday, Sept. 12, against Irrigon.