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Castle Rock football preview: Rockets have sights on postseason

Castle Rock returns key players, solid line

By , Columbian sports reporter

There’s budding excitement from the Rocket faithful for this year’s Castle Rock squad. For good reason, too.

The Rockets bring back exciting junior running back Wyatt Partridge, who ran for 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns last season, and sophomore defensive end Landon Gardner, who had 40 tackles and six sacks. Coleman Guerrero was a two-way all-league player and makes a move to fullback for his senior season.

“They’ve been putting in a good summer and we’re definitely excited for the season to start,” second-year coach Aaron Gehring said. “There’s big pieces coming back on both sides of the ball.”

Up front, the Rockets return nearly their entire offensive line in addition to Toutle Lake transfer Jett Johnson. The size up front will be key in protecting sophomore quarterback Chance Naugle, who was the frontrunner for the job as of mid-August.

All of those players are multi-sport athletes, a point of emphasis for the Rocket athletic programs. The athleticism gives Gehring a solid foundation to build on as the team becomes more familiar with the schemes.

High school sports fall tab 2019

This article is part of The Columbian's High School Fall Sports 2019 special section, published in print on Sept. 1. View it online.

“They know what to expect now,” Gehring said. “The terminology we have is easy to remember and recognize and the guys are getting better. They’re adapting to the league.”

With three playoff spots coming out the 1A Trico League, the Rockets are hoping to jump into the postseason after falling short in their final game of the year in last year’s 3-6 campaign.

3 things to know

— Coach Aaron Gehring played college football at Washington State.

— Chance Naugle’s older sisters, Zoe and Trinity, are collegiate softball players at Lower Columbia.

— The Rockets’ last state playoff experience was in 2008.

Columbian sports reporter