Parker Johnson isn’t the type of quarterback who sticks it out at Cascade Christian, coach Randy Davis said.
He’s a kid who’s supposed to transfer to the glitz and glamour of a Class 4A program. Not play on the hot practice field at Class 1A Cascade Christian, where the grass is more yellow and brown than green.
For one thing, Davis, who is entering his 13th year with the Cougars, said he’s never had a 6-foot-2 quarterback like Johnson.
The arm, too, eventually could be like none Davis has coached. Though Johnson certainly will need time to adjust to the faster pace and hone the mental savvy it takes to be a successful high school quarterback.
“Man, he’s a beast,” said junior running back Madden Tobeck. “He’s got a cannon on him.
“We went to Wenatchee (for a camp) and he was slinging that thing, and all the coaches were asking, ‘He’s a freshman?’ ”
Jaelin Goldsmith was the last freshman quarterback to start for Davis, who is 125-23 at Cascade Christian. That was in 2011, when the Cougars reached the 1A state title game, losing to Connell.
It began the first of three trips to at least the state semifinals in four years, including in 2014 when Cascade Christian won the state title and Goldsmith was named the 1A state player of the year. He now plays at Wheaton College in Illinois.
“It’s a shock,” said Johnson, who turns 15 in November, of his opportunity to start. “It’s fun, but it’s going to be hard to get used to because it’s so much faster from eighth grade to high school. I have to get used to the speed of the linemen, linebackers and DBs. I’ve got to throw the ball faster, and I’ve got to get used to the speed of my receivers.”
He’ll have some good ones, with Austin Carder, Zach Bartolome and Tanner Carle all back this year after earning first-team 1A Nisqually League honors last season.
The league is back to the expanded version that collapsed following the 2013 season, with Chimacum and Port Townsend added, though only for football. That makes it a six-team league.
But, like seemingly every year, Cascade Christian is the favorite, despite losing all-state linemen Te’ave Magalei and Jared Flattum, the son of offensive coordinator Brian Flattum.
What the Cougars lost on the line, they gained in speed and depth at the skill positions.
“We have a lot of fast guys in our room,” Carder said. “In Wenatchee, our offense was really explosive. I think we’re going to have a lot of big plays and big playmakers.
“I think it’s the story of our team — it’s not really a rebuilding year, we always reload.”
Last year, Cascade Christian was forced to turn to Josh Seaton as quarterback, even though he had played wide receiver in the previous three years. Seaton was the first to say he wasn’t a natural quarterback.
Still, the team reached the 1A state playoffs before losing in the first round to Montesano on a last-second Hail Mary touchdown.
Tobeck led the team in rushing yards as sophomore with 614 yards and 12 touchdowns, and 8.5 yards per carry. His father is former Seattle Seahawks and Washington State offensive lineman Robbie Tobeck.
His brother, Mason, played on that 2014 title team. He’s now at Utah State, but as a 6-3, 225-pound linebacker. Not a 6-0, 180-pound running back.
The one time Davis said he tried Mason at running back, he quickly found out it wasn’t the older Tobeck’s position.
“I’ve got a little speed on him,” Madden Tobeck said. “We nicknamed him “The Moose” because he got wobbly on his feet when he’d start running.
“My dad was always pretty coordinated. I don’t know where Mason got it from.”
Madden Tobeck has played some receiver and both the “H” and “F” backs in the Cougars’ two-back offense.
So he said he’s been able to help the young players, such as Johnson, as they learn the offense.
“I was the same way when I was a freshman — you mess up and your eyes get big and you get nervous,” Tobeck said. “And then you keep messing up. The thing is letting him know he can do it and he’s capable and keep him rolling.”
Johnson said that since the seventh grade he’s had it as his goal to start at Cascade Christian.
“I’ve been going here since kindergarten, and I’ve seen how hard they worked in the past years,” Johnson said. “I’ve seen a lot of competition, a lot of speed and a lot of intensity, and it was fun to watch.
“It would mean so much to keep that going. This team has worked really hard just this offseason and this first week of practice. This team can get there. This team has a ton of talent to get there, and I believe we can do it.”
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