Class 4A previews
Aug. 24: Camas
Aug. 25: Union
Aug. 26: Evergreen
Wednesday: Battle Ground
Friday: Class 3A kickoff
It's not hard to spot Loren Standiford on the practice field at Heritage High School, and it has nothing to do with the conspicuous red jersey he wears as the Timberwolves' starting quarterback.
As the players go through a passing drill, it's Standiford, not a coach, who is barking out instructions to the three other quarterbacks participating in the drill.
For Standiford, who has been a varsity quarterback for Heritage since his sophomore season, it's all part of being a senior.
"When I was a younger player, we had seniors who would only hang out with seniors," he said. "But I think it's important that every starter get to know their backups. That way, if you see something wrong, you put your arm around his shoulder and point out how it should be done. As a team, that's how you get better."
It's a concept that coach Jack Hathaway has been trying to instill at Heritage since he took over the program three years ago. And with seniors such as Standiford leading the way, the message is starting to sink in.
"Loren's everything you want in a quarterback," Hathaway said. "He carries himself the right way. He's a good leader who represents the team well both on and off the field."
On the field, Standiford threw for 2,393 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2012. But those aren't the numbers Standiford remembers.
"It really didn't matter what I did last year," he said. "We finished 2-7, so it couldn't have been that great."
A 2-7 season isn't great, but last year could have been much better. And that fact drives Standiford and the Timberwolves in 2013.
"We know we are better than that," he said. "It's not just talk. We know it. We know a lot of our losses last season were due to mistakes we made."
Standiford said eliminating mistakes starts with an offseason commitment to the program with teammates motivated to get better. Heritage returns 30 seniors to the program this season, including two prime receiving targets, E'Lon Mack and Victor Duran.
"In past years, we would win some games late, make the playoffs and think we were going in the right direction," he said. "Then we come back the next season and 5-6 guys had left the program, and we'd have to start over. But this year, the guys on the team are like brothers. We haven't just been playing together for a couple of years, we've played together since the sixth grade."
The camaraderie led to solid attendance during spring drills, offseason weight training and team camp at Eastern Washington.
"Loren is a big part of that," Hathaway said. "If I needed to get some players together for some event, I would just talk to Loren and he'd have 45 guys there the next day."
Even during down time, Standiford said the Timberwolves often spend time together watching football videos on YouTube or throwing the ball around in a park.
"We're pretty much thinking about football 24/7 here," he said.
And the focus right now is on the Timberwolves' season opener on Sept. 6 against Columbia River
"We're just working hard, trying to get better every day and getting ready for River," Standiford said. "The River game last year was one of those games we let get away, and it's been bothering me all offseason."
Coach: Jack Hathaway
2012 record: 2-7, 1-4 4A GSHL.
Key players: Loren Standiford, sr., qb; E'Lon Mack, sr., wr/db; Victor Duran, sr., wr/db; Antonio Pulido, sr., ol/dl; Jalen Kelly, sr., ol/dl; Jeremiah Kelly, jr., te/de; Jarod Luedecker, jr., db; Wyatt Luedecker, jr., wr/lb; Zach Monzon, jr., ol; Nick Somboun, so., wr/db; Carson Calhoon, so., rb/db.
Season outlook: In this third year as head coach, Jack Hathaway has 30 seniors in the program, many of whom have seen extensive playing time in past seasons. QB Standiford and WR Mack have been key contributors since their sophomore seasons. Now, the Timberwolves boast depth and experience on the defensive side of the ball to go with their high-powered offense.
Sept. 6 Columbia River
Sept. 13 at Kelso
Sept. 20 at Enumclaw
Sept. 27 Decatur
Oct. 4 at Union*
Oct. 11 Skyview*
Oct. 18 Battle Ground*
Oct. 25 at Camas*
Nov. 1 at Evergreen*
- -- 4A GSHL game
Home games played at McKenzie Stadium
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