Hazen football looks to take next step in coach’s second year

September 1, 2015

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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NEW — 3:28 p.m. Sept. 1, 2015

The Hazen High School mascot is a Highlander, but this year, the football team has wolves on its mind.

It stems from the squad’s 2015 motto, “Legs Feed The Wolf.” If a wolf wants to eat, it needs legs to hunt down its prey, Hazen quarterback Michael Mason explained.

By Christina Corrales-Toy David Kilpatrick-White, Hazen High School’s head football coach, leads his team through warm-ups at an Aug. 26 preseason practice.

By Christina Corrales-Toy
David Kilpatrick-White, Hazen High School’s head football coach, leads his team through warm-ups at an Aug. 26 preseason practice.

“Every guy represents the legs of the wolf, and for the wolf that is Hazen football to eat, we’ve all got to do our share and put in the work,” he said.

The message conveniently encapsulates many of the expectations head coach David Kilpatrick-White hopes to get across in his second season at the helm.

Coming off a 4-6 season, the Highlanders have some work to do as they look to make a move up the Seamount League pecking order. But they will have to do it with a young squad, after losing most of their 2014 all-league players to graduation.

“We are very young and we’re very inexperienced,” Kilpatrick-White said. “That being said, I think we’re going to continue to grow as the season moves along.”

Mason, a senior, takes over for quarterback Nolan Hoover, now a freshman player at Pacific Lutheran University.

Sitting behind Hoover, Mason didn’t get much playing time last year. This year, he will get his chance and he’s poised for a breakout season, Kilpatrick-White said.

“For the most part, I’m quarterback because of my feet,” Mason said. “I’m decent at running the ball and I’m pretty quick making the decisions on what to do with it.”

Kilpatrick-White added that Mason is like “your classic high school quarterback,” who is hardworking, coachable and willing to lead.

Running back Kaleb McGee should take some pressure off Mason. McGee, who earned all-league honorable mention honors last year, is quick, strong and is as good at catching the ball as he is at carrying it, Kilpatrick-White said.

On the defensive side, look for defensive backs Kevin Govea and Cody Stillings to lead the team in tackles, the coach said. Stillings also earned an all-league honorable mention nod last year.

“He’s very aggressive, really understands the game well and just has a natural way of finding the ball,” the coach said of Govea.

2015 Hazen football schedule

Sept. 4 at Lake Washington
Sept. 11 vs. Liberty
Sept. 17 vs. Evergreen
Sept. 25 at Foster
Oct. 2 at Cascade Christian
Oct. 9 vs. Renton
Oct. 16 at Highline
Oct. 23 vs. Lindbergh
Oct. 30 at Kennedy

The defender who will likely make fans’ heads turn is defensive end Tommy Woodbridge.

“He’s the one that’s going to be making most of those plays that kind of pop out on game day,” Kilpatrick-White said.

Hazen’s second-year coach said he learned a lot in his first season. Kilpatrick-White said he now has a better understanding of his team’s strengths and the Highlander community in general.

One of the things his staff is working against, he said, is a Hazen football culture that seems to accept mediocrity.

“It’s definitely a problem on the football team, where OK is good enough, and we don’t want that to be the case anymore,” he said. “So we’re really trying to push that message home that we’re not going to make excuses.”

This year, Kilpatrick-White said he is hoping to better convey his program’s expectations, which include putting others first, giving a perfect effort and eliminating excuses.

Being a part of the Hazen program is about much more than football, he said.

“Our big thing is we want to grow these guys so that when they graduate, they’re going to be good fathers, good husbands, better sons, better students, and we’re doing a much better job of sticking to that message,” he said.

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