Dan Smith has been around Columbia-White Salmon’s football program for 11 years — first as a nine-year assistant coach and now second year as head coach.
There’s been few offensives and defensive lines as experienced — and big up front — as the Bruins are projected to be in 2019.
“Those are going to be our two best units as a whole,” said Smith, entering his second season.
And it’s easy to see why.
For starters, Smith estimates his junior- and senior-laden lines average 6-foot-1 and 240 pounds. Juan Acosta, who started at center as a freshmen, anchors the line. He is one of the Bruins’ three returning all-league linemen in addition to Stanley Hylton and Cody Colloton.
That experience on the line is key for a program that features plenty of returning faces from a 5-5 season and reaching the 1A state preliminary round for the second time in three seasons. One of those is quarterback Austin Charters, also an all-league defensive back, as one of four returning all-leaguers.
Last season’s annual Gorge Bowl game at Stevenson determined the league championship. The 20-14 loss sent the Bruins to third place, one of three losses by less than a touchdown.
That experience of down-to-the-wire finishes only benefits this year’s team in hopes of competing for a league championship.
Not only for players, but coaches, too, such as Smith and his staff when it comes to game management.
“It’s going to be huge,” he said. “Now, we can compete at that level and not get a little bit rattled when it starts getting close at the end.”
3 things to know
— Bruins reached the postsesaon for the second time in three seasons in 2018.
— Offensive, defensive lines expected to average 6-1, 240 pounds.
— Coach Dan Smith is in his second season as head coach, 11th overall in the program.