Youthful Highlanders eye league title

August 30, 2013

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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The Hazen High School varsity football team breaks from its rally huddle Aug. 22 at the end of afternoon practice.

The Hazen High School varsity football team breaks from its rally huddle Aug. 22 at the end of afternoon practice.

The Hazen High School football team’s 2012 season was a mostly up-and-down affair, resulting in a 5-5 record, but the team put together one of their most complete efforts in the final playoff loss to Ferndale.

The Highlanders are trying to capture that moment in a bottle for 2013, building on the positives that came with that game, Hazen head coach Drew Oliver said.

“We felt good coming out of that Ferndale game that we played our best game,” he said. “We finished like we should.”

A lot of times last season, the Highlanders just couldn’t get out of their own way, failing to put together four quarters of even play, Oliver said. That’s why the team’s 2013 motto, Chasing Perfection Daily, keys on the idea of consistency.

Inspired by a speech Seattle Seahawks coach Tom Cable gave at the Highlanders end-of-the-year banquet last season, the motto represents doing the little things to reach perfection, whether it’s on the field, at home or in the classroom, on a daily basis.

“The idea of having that mindset and working to do that every day individually is going to make our team better,” Oliver said.

This year’s team is all about opportunity, Oliver said, after the Highlanders saw more than 15 seniors graduate. Combined with a relatively small 2014 senior class, Hazen’s team will be young.

“There’s a lot of opportunity for kids to step up and fill some roles,” he said.

What the team lacks in experience, though, is made up through its work ethic, one of the best he’s seen in his time at Hazen, Oliver said. Attendance at offseason workouts was at an all-time high.

“They really were committed to the weight rooms and being there in the summer,” he said.

One of the leaders of those offseason workouts was junior quarterback Nolan Hoover. Hoover, who is also a standout on the Hazen swim team, is tasked with replacing Highlander quarterback Tony Nipert, who graduated.

Hazen

2013 Hazen football schedule

Unless noted, all games are at 7 p.m.

  •  Sept. 6 at Franklin Pierce
  •  Sept. 13 vs. Liberty
  •  Sept. 20 vs. Highline
  •  Sept. 27 at Lindbergh
  •  Oct. 4 vs. Kennedy (Homecoming)
  •  Oct. 11 at Evergreen, 5 p.m.
  •  Oct. 18 at Bainbridge
  •  Oct. 25 vs. Foster
  •  Nov. 1 at Renton

“It’s his time now,” Oliver said of Hoover. “He’s going to be a junior, but he’s prepared himself. He’s got some special qualities there as a leader, and that’s what you want in a quarterback.”

Hoover said he and his teammates spent their summer in the weight room and on the field, practicing their route running and developing chemistry in the passing game.

“The attitude on our team has taken a step up. It’s on another level, than it was last year,” he said. “Everyone’s bought in.”

Hazen’s strength will be in its skill positions, where all-league performers return in senior running back Joe Glaefke and talented junior defensive back Marquise Lee.

“Marquise is a pretty special athlete,” Oliver said. “He’s really starting to grow in his maturity for the game and his knowledge of the game.”

Despite the relative youth on the offensive and defensive lines, running back Glaefke said he thinks the Highlanders have the weapons to compete with the best in the Seamount.

“Our major goal is to win Seamount League, which is something that we have the capability to do,” he said.

It’s a sentiment that his quarterback agrees with, targeting perfection in every aspect of the game.

“I don’t see a reason why we can’t win every game this season,” Hoover said. “That’s what I want to do. That’s what I want to accomplish.”

 

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