Prep football: Glacier Peak has a lot of new faces

High turnover is part of life in high school football.

Players, at most, spend four years at a school before moving on. Handling all those departures is what makes coaching at the high school level a challenge.

And it’s what keeps it exciting.

Glacier Peak head coach Rory Rosenbach finds himself dealing with the graduation of a strong class as his Grizzlies prepare for the 2013 season. The defending Wesco 3A champions, Glacier Peak graduated, among others, its starting quarterback, running back and star receiver. All three — Chris Becerra, Michael Palmer and Sean Elledge, respectively — were first-team All-Wesco selections last season.

“It’s high school football. Most of the time everybody has (lots of players graduate),” Rosenbach said. “We’ve got a lot of new faces. Especially on offense. We’ve got a couple guys back on the line and one of the receivers is back.”

However, like any successful program, the Grizzlies have players ready and willing to step in and play on Friday nights.

“The nice thing is the rest of those guys on the line and at the running back and receiver position have played a lot of varsity football,” Rosenbach said. “They maybe didn’t start, but they rotated in and they played meaningful downs. They’ve had Friday night looks.”

That experience will help as Glacier Peak prepares to defend its league title. Austin Hines is back at receiver and Trey Chambers, an honorable mention all-league defensive back last season, has switched over to receiver to fill the void left by Elledge.

The slot position is still open, however, and that competition is still underway. Leon Elliott, a backup quarterback last season, has moved to receiver and has shined in early-season workouts and practices.

“He has just taken to the position amazingly,” Rosenbach said. “He’s picked up that piece of the offense. He catches everything, competes and works his tail off.”

One spot where the Grizzlies do have some returning help is on the offensive line, where first-team All-Wesco 3A offensive lineman Nick Hensley is once again bringing some tenacity up front for Glacier Peak.

“He’s picked up where he left off,” Rosenbach said. “He’s the identity of that offense. … The identity and the attitude that he brings, the other guys have kind of fed off of that. He’s a tenacious guy. He gets after it all. You’ve got to kind of hold him back sometimes in practice.”

Hensley is one of a few returners on the line for Glacier Peak. Having a good portion of the line return has helped offset some of the Grizzlies’ other departures.

“When you have continuity up front it’s easy to fit the other pieces,” Rosenbach said. “If you don’t have that you’re going to be in trouble. So for us, that’s a great place to start.”

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