Steve Hannan is back in black and gold.
The Inglemoor High 1987 graduate looked comfortable sitting in a classroom at his alma mater again on Aug. 21, this time as the Vikings’ new head football coach.
As he drew offensive and defensive schemes in his playbook before practice, Hannan said he couldn’t think of a better scenario than returning to Inglemoor and helping rebuild the football program, which finished 1-6 in 4A KingCo and 1-9 overall last season. The Viks will kick off their season with a nonconference home matchup against Cascade at 7 p.m. Thursday at Pop Keeney Stadium.
“If it wouldn’t have been where I graduated from, then I probably wouldn’t have taken the job. It was really what pulled me back here,” said Hannan, who played running back and safety during his days at Inglemoor, which qualified for the state playoffs during one of his years at the school. “It’s been a little surreal, and at times, it’s a little emotional, actually. It really has been special. Couldn’t be happier to be back, really excited.”
Hannan has paved a lengthy coaching road for himself over the years as an assistant at Sammamish High, head coach at Monroe High and for the last nine years, defensive coordinator at Glacier Peak High.
The coach said he’s implementing all-new schemes on both sides of the ball this season. Offensively, they’ll run a spread, pistol-type scheme that will utilize a host of running backs, including seniors Kyle Loken, Cole Kindschi and Riley Mersberg and sophomore Jacob Dick.
“We feel like, initially, one of the strengths of our team are those running backs,” said Hannan, noting that the quarterback position was wide open at press time with several players vying for the spot.
Other top Viks are Austin Cummings, a 6-foot-4 senior offensive lineman, a “big gun” who has been getting college attention; Braden Dick, a 6-1 aggressive junior guard; Luke Millman, a junior wide receiver/safety; Quentin Moore, a 6-4 junior tight end; Erik Tusvik, a senior tight end/inside linebacker; and Blake Berlin, a senior safety.
“They’re really working hard, they’re really trying,” Hannan said. “We realize we’ve got a hill to climb, but I think we’re about as far as we could have hoped to have been right about now.”
Loken, who also plays cornerback, dipped his cleats into the Vik junior program in third grade and never stopped. After what he feels was a successful summer camp showing for the Viks at King’s in Shoreline, his team is ready to face some tough competition.
At camp, he learned that “when a big play happens, just get really excited and it will help you keep playing through the game. It helps everyone do better.”
And what does Loken see when he looks around at his fellow black-and-gold-jerseyed teammates?
“It’s a lot more enthusiastic this year, guys are more optimistic,” he said.
Like Loken, Kindschi — who also plays strong safety —said the Viks are more fired up than in the past and coach Hannan has been stressing excitement and supporting each other.
”I think a lot of the young guys are going to have to step up, because we don’t have a ton of seniors or juniors. It’s gonna come down to that,” he said. “I’m really confident about the team this year.”
Mersberg also takes on a linebacker role on defense and said the guys need to stick together in order to reap success this year. The 4A KingCo league is a grueling one and he is looking forward to digging into the schedule.
“I love playing better teams to see what it’s like in KingCo and how good they are. I wanna strive to be that good and push my teammates to be that good,” Mersberg said.