The Kentlake Falcons are facing a fresh start under new coach Brett Thompson, and that means installing a new offense and uniting the team his way.
Thompson accepted the head coach position at Kentlake in March after spending seven years as an assistant coach at Tahoma High School.
Thompson said he’s installing a spread offense, which is much different than the flexbone offense former Kentlake coach Chris Paulson used last season.
Thompson hasn’t yet named a starting quarterback for the Falconss, but Thompson said there is a neck-and-neck competition between seniors Trey Helgeson and Cody Faulkner for the position.
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Thompson also said senior running back and safety Andrew Dixon is a player to watch, as well as junior running back and linebacker Micah Vaifale.
“Both of them worked really hard in the weight room this offseason,” Thompson said.
Protecting the quarterback and paving a way for Dixon is an offensive line that Thompson said has a lot of experience. One lineman named by Thompson is senior Brandon Kelley, who will also play defensive line.
“They’re not the biggest,” he said. “But they have a lot of experience.”
But it’s not just the offense that Thompson is changing at Kentlake, he’s also hoping to change the culture.
After a practice full of conditioning, Dixon and Vaifale were carrying each other on their backs while running the sideline.
“That was our punishment for missing practice yesterday,” Dixon said, gathering his breath. “We couldn’t find a ride.”
It was an intense punishment for two players that are important pieces to the team, but both were happy to do it.
“It just teaches us not to do that again,” Dixon said.
“Last year was much less disciplined and you could see it having an effect on the field,” Vaifale said.
Both players also said it’s that very discipline which is also helping the team become more of a unit off the field.
“We want to be one big, disciplined family,” Dixon said. “I think that will lead us to success.”
The News Tribune will visit 17 high school football practices in the 14 days leading up to the first Football Friday of the season, breaking down some of the teams, players and storylines entering the 2015-16 season.
The tour will include three schools from the 4A Narrows League, four teams from the 4A SPSL, two from the 3A Narrows League, two from the 3A SPSL, one from the 2A Evergreen Conference, two from the 2A SPSL, one from the 1A Evergreen, one from the 1A Nisqually and one from the 2B Pacific.
Teams will be revealed each day, starting with the first day of official practices Wednesday, Aug. 19.
TNT PRESEASON PRACTICE TOUR
Practice preview: South Sound’s four most illustrious 4A schools enter new eras
Aug. 19: Timberline Blazers
Aug. 22: Kentlake Falcons
Aug. 26: Black Hills Wolves
Aug. 28: Yelm Tornados
Aug. 29: Clover Park Warriors
Aug. 31: Mount Tahoma Thunderbirds
Sept. 1: Eatonville Cruisers
Sept. 2: Charles Wright Tarriers
Sept. 3: Sumner Spartans
LEAGUE FOOTBALL PREVIEWS
In-depth look at some of the top storylines, team-by-team breakdown, games to watch and predictions from the 4A Narrows, 4A SPSL, 3A Narrows, 3A SPSL, 2A SPSL, and 1A Nisqually, as well as capsules from other area small-school teams.
State football overview: Dual-threat QBs have Auburn Mountainview, Gig Habor thinking state
Preseason TNT All-State football team: Graham-Kapowsin’s Foster Sarell on of nation’s top 2017 recruits
3A Narrows: Is that Xavier Cooper? Or Wilson’s A.J. Ruffin?
2A Evergreen: Team capsules
1A Nisqually: Team capsules. Story Saturday.
Small schools: Team capsules