Photo By Patty Theurer - #5 Garrett Stewart
Written By: Sven Alskog
Youth is the name of the game for the Notus Pirates in 2019, with a talented group of freshmen entering the high school ranks this year and sophomore quarterback Kaeden Clemens continuing to take control of the offense behind center.
“Last year we had ten seniors and this year we have at least that many freshmen. We will be very young this season. What we lack in experience we make up for in energy, effort and a willingness to learn,” said head coach Joe Woodland.
Expect the offense to be led by senior running back Garrett Stewart, a Second Team All-Conference performer a year ago who will be asked to do even more with the graduation of Brandon Fogg, who led the team in touchdowns and also had over 1,000 yards on the ground.
Multiple other capable pieces join Stewart to give the Pirates what should be a formidable ground game. Combined with the return of the now more experienced Clemens at quarterback, things are looking bright for the future.
“We will be successful if we limit our turnovers, make key blocks, play within ourselves and run the ball downhill. Our sophomore quarterback gained a lot of experience last year and he has two senior running backs to support him in Garrett Stewart and John Jones. We are deep in the running back position with Elijah Martin and Carter Woodland backing up the two seniors,” added Woodland.
Carter Woodland and the rest of the freshmen were all a part of the undefeated junior high team from last year.
One of the emphasis areas this offseason for Notus has been improving the weight room and having the players take full advantage of the new equipment at their disposal. Thanks to the senior project of Lane Coatney, financial support from the school and the volunteer efforts of many in the community, the Pirates were able to completely overhaul the weight room at the school, something that appears to already be paying off.
“This group of guys is coming together as a team. They are committed to the weight program and showed a lot of promise at camp this spring. We have a lot of young guys that bring energy and excitement to our team,” said Woodland.
The coach also highlighted multiple standouts who have impressed this offseason.
“Garrett Stewart has become a good leader to some of the younger guys. He has stepped up and showed some senior leadership. John Jones and Lane Coatney worked really hard in the weight room this offseason and each gained a lot of size and speed. Kaeden Clemens went from being a wide-eyed freshman last year to showing some really good composure at camp this spring.”
On defense, each of the top three tacklers returns from a year ago, which should help in a big way.
“We focused a lot on our corners at camp this spring, and have filled some holes in that position that we had from last season. We return our top three tacklers from last season in Garrett Stewart, Lane Coatney, and Chris Martin. Chris is a big strong guy and he anchors us at the nose guard position,” added Woodland.
Notus hopes to get off to a fast start this season with non-conference games at Council and Cascade right out of the chutes. The first home game of the year will be on September 13 against Horseshoe Bend.