EVERETT — A new coaching staff. A new offense and defense. And plenty of graduated seniors to replace.
It’s been an offseason of change for Everett High School football, but the Seagulls are excited about the direction of the program under new head coach David Coldiron as they aim to build on their recent success.
Coldiron replaces Doug Trainor, who resigned along with several other members of the coaching staff this past spring after three seasons at the helm.
“It was kind of tough at first,” Everett senior running back and linebacker Christian Balmer said of the head-coaching change. “You don’t really know the guy at first (and) you kind of worry and stuff.
“But as I warmed up to coach (Coldiron), I knew he was going to be perfect. He fit what we wanted to do and who we wanted to be. I honestly think he fits perfectly.”
Coldiron, a Southern California native, has more than 20 years of experience coaching high school and community college football. For the past four seasons, he was the head coach at Mira Monte High School in Bakersfield, California.
Coldiron inherits an Everett program that made major strides the past three seasons under Trainor. After three consecutive one-win campaigns from 2012 to 2014, the Seagulls went 5-5 in each of Trainor’s first two years at the helm before a breakthrough 7-3 season last fall that resulted in the program’s first Week 10 playoff appearance since 2010.
“(The players) have embraced me,” Coldiron said. “They’ve made me feel like I’m a part of them. … We have a lot of great kids here that give great effort, and I’m just really excited about working with them.”
One of the biggest changes Coldiron has implemented is a new offense centered on a zone-blocking scheme. It will be the third different offense in three years for the Seagulls, who transitioned last offseason from a spread passing attack to a run-heavy flexbone system.
Coldiron said Everett will pass more often than last year, when the Seagulls threw the ball sparingly in their flexbone option attack. However, he said he wants his offense to continue bringing the hard-nosed, physical mentality it displayed last season while churning out yards on the ground.
“You guys were a good, tough football team last year,” Coldiron said he told his players. “Those coaches did a great job with that last year. We want to keep that. Now let’s just kind of add some things that go with that, but keep that toughness.
“We’re still going to be that tough, physical running team,” he added. “But we (also) will throw the ball.”
Coldiron said he was thrilled to add former longtime Kamiak offensive line coach Russ Roberts to the Everett coaching staff, given his background in coaching zone blocking. Roberts also was the head coach at King’s for four seasons in the 1990s.
“We’re running a lot of zone on the offensive side of the ball,” Coldiron said. “That’s where I’ve been at as a coach for a while, so I was looking for a good offensive line coach who understood the zone scheme, because that’s kind of who I am. We’ve got a really good match there.”
Coldiron also credited his players for having an open mind and buying into both a new offense and defense from the beginning of spring practice.
“If we had to convince them first, we would be way behind right now,” he said. “But the fact that the kids were open and willing to hear what we had to say as coaches, we were already halfway there.
“Then from there, it’s teaching them all the little technical aspects that maybe they hadn’t done before — little skills that maybe the receivers hadn’t had to do, because they weren’t catching that many footballs. Maybe the quarterbacks are having to do a few (new) things because they weren’t throwing that many footballs.
“So there were some things that they had to learn, certainly,” he said. “But I give them all the credit, because they came with an open mind.”
Everett graduated seven of its eight players from last year who garnered first-team All-Wesco 3A South honors. But among the key returnees are senior offensive lineman Anthony Amundsen and two-way standout Balmer, who averaged 6.5 yards per carry last season while rushing for 998 yards and 11 touchdowns in nine games.
“Really, really good running back,” Coldiron said of Balmer. “I’ve been coaching football for more than 20 years, and on the high school level you don’t get too many guys like Christian Balmer. Whether he’s on the offensive side or the defensive side, he’s just a good football player. … He’s a playmaker.”
Coldiron also praised Balmer’s leadership, which he said is particularly important for a team that’s younger and less experienced than last year’s senior-laden squad.
“His leadership has been phenomenal,” Coldiron said. “That leadership he brings to us is something that’s irreplaceable.”
Change has been abundant for the Seagulls this offseason, but players like Balmer and Amundsen are embracing this new era of Everett football.
“We’ve got a new start,” Amundsen said. “We’re the new Everett. We’re going to put our name out there. … This team, we all have great potential and we can go far.”