Fresh starts, optimism on first day of football practice

New coaches are excited at Evergreen, Fort, Hockinson

By Paul Valencia, Columbian High School Sports Reporter



Todd Quinsey, Fort Vancouver football coach

Everything moved so quickly Wednesday afternoon at McKenzie Stadium.

The new-look Evergreen Plainsmen were on the football field, and they weren’t wasting any time during their drills.

“It’s fast, but not fast enough,” Evergreen coach Don Johnson Jr., said.

A football coach is rarely satisfied.

Especially on the first day of practice.

Wednesday marked the official opening of the 2013 high school football practice season in Washington. The first games in Southwest Washington will be Friday, Sept. 6. Until then, it’s all about preparation.

For three Clark County programs, the day is a bit more special, as new men take over the head coaching posts.

Todd Quinsey is the new coach at Fort Vancouver, Brian Schott is taking over at Hockinson, and Johnson runs the show at Evergreen. They have been working with their teams throughout June and July, but now stuff’s about to get real.

Optimism rules the day.

“We’re getting ready to win some games,” Fort senior Babacarr Secka said. “This is a different team this year. I expect a lot.”

“It’s great to be out here,” Quinsey said. “They’re willing to learn, and they want to get better.”

The Trappers went 1-8 last season, and quarterback Jordan Suell noted the Trappers are on a one-game winning streak after beating Hudson’s Bay in the season finale.

“That win we had against Bay last year gives us a lot of confidence,” Suell said.

Wide receiver Marquis Taylor said he appreciates the discipline that Quinsey

is bringing to the program.

“He doesn’t give us a day off. He’s always pushing us,” Taylor said.

At Evergreen, the Plainsmen looked like they have done all of this before — because they had.

“It doesn’t even feel like the first day of practice because we’ve been with him so much,” senior Justin Straup said, referring to the new coach. “The way he does things, it makes me feel like we’ve all been together a long time.”

The coach’s passion has helped the numbers. Johnson said more than 90 players are cleared to participate.

“For 93 kids to come out for Evergreen football, that hasn’t happened in a long time,” he said.

When the Plainsmen split into groups, they filled out areas over the entire field. Offensive linemen here, defensive linemen there, linebackers, running backs, and so on.

Johnson said this is the day it all starts to gel. He had most of his team throughout the summer, but there were athletes playing other sports as well. Now, he can work with everyone at the same time.

Hockinson got on the field a little after 4:30 p.m.

“Senior year, so it’s kind of all or nothing,” quarterback Jess Krahn said. “At the same time, we’re trying to start a culture … at Hockinson with Coach Schott, bring in new enthusiasm.”

Schott is excited.

“I was telling the guys when I came in today, it felt different,” Schott said. “It’s the real deal today.”

Fort Vancouver and Evergreen are coming off losing seasons. Schott inherited a winner. Hockinson went 6-4 last year and made the playoffs.

“It’s worth mentioning Coach (Rick Steele) built a great foundation here,” Schott said. “The numbers and the expectations have increased every year. This is the only job I applied for.”

Now Schott is in charge of the Hawks, just like Johnson is the leader of the Plainsmen, and Quinsey has the top job with the Trappers.

The workouts in May, June, July are in the past.

Now, it really is football season.

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