How does a program top a championship? How does a championship program line up successors to succeed at the same level? It’s not an easy task, but the 2018 Cascade Christian Challengers football team came one game short of a repeat.
14 walked across the graduation platform in June, 2018- including their three-year starting QB (Haiden Schaan), a beavy of talented perimeter players (Ben Dunn, Joel Mclemore, Jacob Crowl, and others), as well as other quality starters and contributors such as Noah Stanfield, Anthony Ujdur, Christian Flores-Alatorre and Mason Bailey. You can’t fault observers for feeling like last season would be a down year.
Someone forgot to tell the Challengers coaching staff and players.
Kiegan Schaan moved into the backfield from the perimeter and proved to be a quick study. Blessed with a good arm, feet and a sharp mind, Schaan erased any concerns about the QB position. Brothers Luke and Elijah Smith provided excellent complements in sharing the load at running back. Brothers John and Kristian Fralich, cousin Ian, Wyatt Lewis, Mike Quintero and Cade Sample provided excellent depth, with Dylan Jackson seeing snaps at tight end.
The o-line made sure the “skill” players had time and room. Center Logan Flenner anchored a line that included Cole Ferguson, Cody Miller, Gabe Pierson, and Spencer Weeks.
The defense cut through opponents like a knife through hot butter. With Schaan, Sample, Ferguson, Weeks and the Smiths leading the way- the Challengers won the giveaway/takeaway count by a tremendous margin.
On special teams, Ethan Hoffman left no doubt that kicking and punting was well squared away, often attempting kicks that almost no one else dare try. He also ensured that the coverage units had ample time to get downfield.
A quality group of seniors has just graduated, and it leaves some questions in a number of personnel groups. The good news is it opens up opportunities for the upperclassmen who’ve been biding their time, and there’s a great group of incoming freshmen coming in to work their way up.