The Quincy Jacks football team began its spring practices on June 1, under new head coach Russ Elliott.
Around 50 youths showed up to the second week of practice, a good sign, according to Elliott, who served as defensive coordinator under former head coach Greg McMillan.
Elliott, a former football player at Cashmere High School has also filled all the spots in his coaching staff, with Seth Longwill serving as defensive coordinator, as well as coaching the receivers and outside linebackers.
“He did a great job with the baseball team, and he’s just a really good coach,” Elliott said. “Happy to have him. And we have worked together the last three years, so we know each other and respect each other.”
In addition to Longwill, Elliott recruited Josey Ferguson, who will coach the offensive line and the defensive line.
“Both those guys are Quincy alums, Quincy guys, and both of them were all-League. I think Josey was all-State,” Elliott said.
Gonzalo Guerrero, another Quincy grad, will help with the offensive line, coaching the guards. Brock Grams, a Cashmere grad like Elliott, will coach tight ends and inside linebackers, among others. Jagen (JAY-ggin) Longwill and longtime Quincy coach Mike Scharbach round out the coaching staff.
“We have a brand-new offense to put in,” he said. “Our defense is going to stay the same, but our offense will be different. It’s still Wing-T-based but it’s a different philosophy, a different way to approach it. It’s a learning process for us.”
Still, Elliott says he can sense a level of enthusiasm and excitement among the players.
“Most of the kids know me and I feel like they are encouraged and excited about playing football,” he said. “I hope so, because I’m excited to teach them the game.”
The first test came on Tuesday, June 14, in Grandview, when the Jacks faced off in a scrimmage against the Greyhounds. Results weren’t available prior to press time.
The regular season schedule has been published, but with a shortage of officials affecting prep sports across the board, the games might be moved to later on that same week. Other than that, the schedule is set, Elliott said.
• Sept. 2 at East Valley-Yakima
• Sept. 9, hosting Ephrata
• Sept. 16, at Tonasket
• Sept. 23, hosting Brewster
• Sept. 30, at Cascade (Leavenworth)
• Oct. 7, hosting Omak
• Oct. 14, at Chelan
• Oct. 21, at Medical Lake
• Oct. 28, hosting Cashmere
All games are scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
Those contests, though, are still a few sun-drenched weeks away. In the meantime, Elliott is relishing the chance to lead a football team again. He served as the Mount Rainier (Des Moines, Wash.) High School head coach in the mid-1990s.
“The best part about (the job) is the kids,” Elliott said. “I coached the last two years and felt the connection and I just wanted to continue that. Being the head coach gives me that opportunity.”