Eds. note: Herald writer Aaron Lommers visited Cascade training camp on Wednesday.
What's new: Expectation
Before head coach Joe Cronin got to Cascade prior to the 2012 season, the Bruins hadn't won a football game in over two years. A year after his arrival, the Bruins are thinking league championship.
Cascade went 5-5 in Cronin's first year as head coach and it seems the players have bought into the program and his philosophies. Several of the key players from last year's team are back for 2013 and the Bruins are setting their sights even higher this season.
"The biggest thing (the team) talked about (before the season) was chemistry," Bruins head coach Joe Cronin said. "Making sure that there are no cliques and we all get along and support each other and we constructively criticize each other. With that being said, if that happens there is reason we can't compete for a league championship."
In Wednesday's first practice of the season, the Bruins appeared sharp and for the most part knew what was expected of them at all times as opposed to last season when Cronin was getting to know his players and the players were getting to know him and his system.
Many of Cascade's seniors remember what it was like to be expected to fail. They get to conclude their high-school careers knowing what it is like to be expected to succeed – and they are approaching it with confidence.
Returning All-Wesco players
First team—KJ Brady (Sr., Wide Receiver), Randin Crecelius (Sr., Offensive Line, Defensive Line). Second team—Kaleb Dobson (Sr. Defensive Back), Nate Elliot (Sr., Linebacker), Myles Bellah (Sr., Linebacker)
Player to watch: Randin Crecelius, Sr., OL/DL
Crecelius, who was first-team Wesco 4A south offensive and defensive lineman a year ago, will be looked to again to dominate his position and be one of the Bruins leaders on and off the field.
"He is one of the best, if not the best in my opinion, lineman in the state," Cronin said. "He has all the physical tools period. The only thing that I would say that he need to work on, and we have had conversations about this, is he needs to be nasty every play."
Cronin said that Crecelius has put in the work in the weight room and become more of a vocal leader for the team this offseason, but if he gets after it on every play there is no limit to what he can accomplish.
As a captain, Crecelius said it is his job to set the bar for his teammates.
"I've never been one to talk," Crecelius said. "I will get my team pumped up, but I lead more by example."
Fresh face: Kejuan Coleman, Jr., RB
Coleman played in the Bruins first couple of games in 2012, but suffered an injury that limited him for much of the season.
He returned late in the year and gave what Cronin hopes is a glimpse of what he is capable of against Snohomish in the last game of the season when he rushed for over 200 yards.
Coleman has added another 25 pounds to his frame and is expected to be the Bruins opening day starter at running back in 2013.
"I would expect Kejuan to have a breakout season," Cronin said.
If Coleman is successful running behind an offensive line anchored by Crecelius, it should open up the passing game for the talented tandem of senior receivers, Kaleb Dobson and KJ Brady.
The rebuilding process at Cascade hasn't taken very long. Rest assured no team looks past the Bruins on the schedule any longer. With the talent on this team, matching last year's total of five wins seems like a virtual lock. This is a team that is excited about what it can accomplish, but is also motivated by a past of futility. The Bruins are unlikely to take nights off with everything they have been through before Cronin's arrival and he isn't the type of coach that would let that slide. Not only are the Bruins one of the favorites in the Wesco South this season, they could make some noise come playoff time.
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