Photo By Joel Brown - #11 Pete Knudson
Written By: Sven Alskog
With 17 of 22 returners back, McCall-Donnelly appears to be in a good position to remain towards the top of the 2A Western Idaho Conference.
First Team All-Conference selections reside all over the field for the Vandals, including quarterback Pete Knudson, wide receiver Noah Ormsby, linebacker Tuff Bentz and offensive lineman Colton Alvarez.
Add to that list 6-foot-11-inch nose tackle Joel Meske and there is a surplus of size, speed and football talent on-hand for the northernmost school in the 2A WIC.
“We are big, strong and fast. The work ethic is at an all-time high and the payday should be here this year! We lost two starters from last year’s team [on offense],” said head coach Lee Leslie.
One of the consistent themes over the last few years for McCall-Donnelly has been a dedication to getting better in the weight room, something which Leslie highlighted for multiple of his returners.
“Pete Knudson is stacked. 6-feet-2-inches and 210 pounds with 6 percent body fat, a stronger arm and quicker feet,” adding that his quarterback can now do a 265-pound clean, 275 on the bench and a 400-pound squat.
Multiple other efforts in the weight room were highlighted as well.
“Noah Ormsby never misses a day to work out every day throughout the year. 225-pound clean, 275-pound bench, 330-pound squat and incredible hands. Colton Alvarez is our most powerful player with 250-pound clean, 315 on the bench, a 375-pound squat and a 455-pound dead lift. Tuff Bentz has a 240-pound clean, 260-pound bench, 350-pound squat and 455-pound dead lift. Beau Carr as a sophomore benched 280-pounds, cleaned 255, did a 400-pound squat and a 450-pound dead lift. All of these guys made the 1000-pound club this year,” added Leslie.
The coach is happy with the mindset that is being built with the group that he has in place.
“These kids have spent countless hours working to get better. Instead of playing apprehensively, they are chomping at the bit to compete. It’s the same team but faster and quicker and a definite chip on their shoulder.”
Some of the new faces for the Vandals include Emmett transfer Thomas Vlaanderen, the massive defensive tackle Meske and a sophomore who received some time last year as a freshman at wide receiver and defensive back, DJ Green.
Expect each of them to make a major impact this year for a McCall-Donnelly team that hopes to make a run come November.
At the end of the day though, it’s not the on-field product that has the coaching staff most excited about this group.
“We were voted the top School of Excellence in the state for 2A this last year. This is a first and stems from a new culture set in place that everyone does their part in the offseason in every sport. Hard work is accepted and expected,” said Leslie.
The Vandals get the season underway on August 30 at home against the Orofino Maniacs.