Forty-plus Cedar Park Christian football players were sweating, grunting and yelling while running intense sets of lines at the end of a recent practice.
While taking short breaks, some of the Eagles spoke up: “I’m feeling good,” “We believe” and “I’m not tired” were some of the key phrases that filled the air.
New head coach Bill Marsh looked on with a spark in his eyes and cheered his guys on until they completed their brutal training session. They all succeeded and they congratulated each other afterward.
The class 1A Eagles enter a new league this season — the 1A/2A Cascade Conference — and will have tough games on the schedule each week.
“We’re gonna have to work harder than everybody else and have a bond that’s greater than everybody else,” said senior middle linebacker Alex Thomas, who stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 210 pounds. “(Cedar Park) has always had a close-knit senior class and this year we have more people out than ever. I want to make sure that we leave a really good legacy for those guys to follow up on.”
Although the Eagle roster shows 18 players at 6 feet or higher, Thomas and Marsh note that they’re one of the smaller teams in the league. Marsh said they aspire to keep fighting into the fourth quarter and snag some victories.
Added Marsh: “We’re trying to instill a lot of confidence in them that we belong in this league and can compete in this league.” (Cedar Park finished 5-5 in the 1A Nisqually League last season.)
Senior Isaiah Ammon will lead the Eagles at quarterback this year and says he’s influenced by confident and competitive pros like Drew Brees and Russell Wilson.
“Things are looking pretty good. I have 100 percent faith in every starter,” Ammon said. “I’m not really focusing on my personal stats. I just want to be the best ball distributor as possible, whether I have to hand off the ball every single play or whether I have to pass 500 yards a game.”
Ammon started playing football seven years ago and enjoys the team aspect of the sport. Marsh said his quarterback has a “great football IQ,” stellar footwork and is poised for success.
“I like to win at everything,” Ammon said with a smile about his competitive nature. “And I hope my guys feed off of that.”
Seniors Shane Rhodes, Brent Devine and Caleb Piscuc will all get their share of carries in the Eagles’ Triple-I offense, which will also feature some bootlegs and sprint-out passes via Ammon. Another key guy is junior Caleb Freed, who will play center and then spend time as a lineman on defense in the Eagles’ 4-2-5 formation.
Former Cedar Park and Newport High coach Dan Holden is back with the Eagles to lead the defense and share his vast football knowledge with the players. Holden coached Newport to a 3A state title in 1992.
Marsh, who was Eastside Catholic’s head coach for 15 years and also spent time as an assistant at Mercer Island High and Cedarcrest High, is fitting right in at Cedar Park.
“This job opened up and it was the perfect thing at the perfect time, and ever since I’ve been here, I’ve loved every day of it,” Marsh said. “It’s just a great community and I like the challenge of them moving into a new league. I think that was kind of enticing to hopefully take a program to another level.”
Sept. 5, host Seattle Prep, 7 p.m.
Sept. 12, at Renton, 7 p.m.
Sept. 20, host South Whidbey, 7 p.m.
Sept. 26, host Cedarcrest, 7 p.m.
Oct. 3, at Granite Falls, 7 p.m.
Oct. 10, host Lakewood, 7 p.m.
Oct. 17, at Archbishop Murphy, 7 p.m.
Oct. 24, host Sultan (at RHS), 7 p.m.
Oct. 30, at Kings, 7 p.m.
home games at Juanita HS