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Seton Catholic football preview: High turnout has Cougars headed in right direction

Original head coach Dan Chase returns to program

By Joshua Hart, Columbian sports reporter
Published: September 3, 2019, 6:43pm

The word all summer around the 1A Trico League was that Seton Catholic was struggling with turnout. By the time the first practice rolled around, it was quite the opposite. A record 28 players lined up on Seton Catholic’s turf field for the start of fall practice. They wore practice kits that highlighted the new co-op with Firm Foundation for the 2019 season.

“The players and students made football a priority,” coach Dan Chase said of the surprising numbers. Chase founded the Cougars’ football program in 2011 and coached four years before stepping away from the team. The school’s vice principal returns this season to replace Will Ephraim, who headed the team the past four years.

“This is the first class that not one players knows me as a football coach, only as the vice principal and a teacher,” Chase said. “Building that coach-player relationship has been a lot of fun.”

Notable pieces from last year are missing from the Cougars. Quarterbacks Tyvauntae Deloney (Evergreen) and Luke Price (Ridgefield) transferred, as did wide receiver Mikey Silveira (IMG Academy). All-league defensive back CJ Hamblin, a state wrestling champion, will miss the season with an injury.

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.

So Seton Catholic is a bit green in a lot of areas. Experience is most apparent in the trenches with Ken Koceja and John Harter returning on the offensive line. Jaime Gutierrez is expected to be a strong contributor as well.

Luke Pitzer will slide into the quarterback role and has shown promise this summer. He’ll have lengthy receiver Lance Stuck and strong tight end Griffin Young to target in the Cougars’ spread offense. In the backfield, Elijah Volk should see plenty of work and Isaac Washington will be a key piece at linebacker.

“We don’t know yet,” Chase said of where the Cougars might expect to finish in league play. “But I think we’ll surprise some people.”

3 things to know

— Coach Dan Chase returns to the program after a four-year hiatus.

— Two of the record 28 players are from Firm Foundation.

— The Cougars allowed just 15.9 points per game last season.

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Columbian sports reporter