This year’s Columbia Falls football team will be hard to compare to last year’s squad. It may have many of the same players, but new coach Jackson Schweikert is implementing an entirely new spread offensive system. The players seem to like it.
“They’re figuring stuff out, running around and having fun,” he said.
All told, 65 players are vying for roster spots. On the varsity level, juniors Ty Morgan and Jared Trinastich are competing for the starting quarterback job. The offense will have at least two running backs in Zach Darling and Mike Sandefer. Eight players are battling it out for the top-four receiver spots, and 13 are vying for a spot on the offensive line.
While many teams practice in the morning and again in the evening, Schweikert has set up both Wildcat practices in the late afternoon and evening, with a break in between.
It gives players a chance to do things during the day and recover from the day before. It also gives coaches a chance to evaluate the first practice, tweak some things and then get an immediate response from the players. The players often come out harder in the second set of drills, Schweikert noted.
Overall, Schweikert likes this team.
“They’re really good kids. They’re really young,” he said.
The team has just eight seniors. He said the goal is to focus practice and weight training on explosiveness and athleticism. This will not be a lumbering football team.
“We’re the fast-break basketball team,” he said.
Schweikert said the ultimate goal is to win the conference and make the playoffs. But more importantly, it’s to create a process of success and commitment.
He noted that when he coached in Mount Vernon, Wash., in the last year of the program, every single athlete made it to every practice on time and ready to play.
“It’s all about core values and process,” Schweikert said. “When those things happen, the winning takes care of itself. We want to get better everyday … Kids aren’t afraid of hard work if they believe it will lead to something positive.”
The Wildcats open their season Aug. 31 on the road against Corvallis and then travel south the following Friday to Stevensville. Their first home game is against Browning on Sept. 14 at 7 p.m.