The Cedar Park Christian football team will have a new quarterback under center this season, but it won’t be due to graduation or injury.
Jaden Sheffey, who led the Eagles to a 5-5 record last year and their first home postseason appearance since 2011, will be playing for Woodinville this fall.
“I think what’s happened is our whole team has really rallied around it,” said coach Bill Marsh, who enters his third season with the Eagles. “He was a great quarterback and our team has really rallied around it, but with him leaving, it allowed a lot of other kids to step up into a role they hadn’t really been in before.”
Former running back Jack Flynn has stepped into the starting quarterback position as a senior, leading a retooled offense with hopes of setting a new precedent of success.
“Last year was a nice wake-up call,” Marsh said. “It let the players know we are good enough to compete.”
Outside of Sheffy, the Eagles return many of their offensive weapons from last season.
Josiah Sergeant returns for his senior year after an impact year both on the ground and in the air. Sargent is aiming for a first-team selection and 1,000-yards rushing for the season.
“He’s definitely our top guy coming out of the backfield as a running back,” Marsh said. “We’ll use him in multiple ways.”
Andrew Britton should be an option as well. Britton was Cedar Park’s fastest sprinter during track season, and assisted in the kick-return game last fall behind senior Noah Anglin.
Beyond that, Marsh said the Eagles will have a slough of players to toss at opponents — including Flynn himself. Flynn was one of the team’s leaders in rushing yards last year, and though he said he likely wouldn’t run quite as often, his feet will still play a role.
Flynn is a three-year varsity starter, and was the team’s backup quarterback last year.
“He’d been wanting to play for three years, and as soon as he found out he was going to be the guy, he just went to task with it,” Marsh said. “The players have really rallied around him, which has been great to see.”
Flynn said he has enjoyed the change.
“It’s the most difficult position in sports so it’s been a challenge, but I’m having a lot of fun and I think I’m picking it up pretty quick,” he said.
Defensively, the Eagles will have a drastically different look. Pieces of the Cedar Park coaching staff are new this season and there are a handful of younger kids expected to get playing time, meaning a shift in defensive mindset.
“Last year we were very read-and-react, but this year we will be more aggressive — a lot of blitzing, because we’re pretty young,” Marsh said. “Instead of having guys sit there and sort things out, we’re just telling them where to go and having them get there and find the ball.”
Flynn praised the team’s defensive speed, especially in the backfield. The Eagles also have a presence up front in senior lineman Andrei Leonardi, who was among the team’s defensive leaders in total tackles.
The next step in the program’s growth, though, is sustaining the victories from last season.
“We want to get above .500 this year, and we want to win that playoff game,” Sergeant said. “We’ve got to win the 1A games and take a couple 2A games. We want Cedarcrest this year. That’s what we’re going for.”