Puyallup: Sports

Pursuit of Class 1A state championship begins in the weight room for Cougars

Cascade Christian High senior Jared Flattum takes his time while lifting weights last week during an offseason session at the high school.
Cascade Christian High senior Jared Flattum takes his time while lifting weights last week during an offseason session at the high school. Staff writer

It’s the essence of what Cascade Christian High is as a football program — a core that led the Cougars to lifting the Class 1A state championship trophy last season.

Hard work in the weight room.

It’s the philosophy that made Cascade Christian into the 2014 Class 1A state champions when the Cougars defeated Colville at the Tacoma Dome. Strength and endurance led to that title last December, and it started right in the Cougars’ backyard.

“We definitely emphasize guys coming out and putting their time in the weight room,” defensive coordinator Devin Snyder said. “Not just lift, but use these workouts to simulate what it would be like to play in a game.”

When working on a short team rebuild or retool, it’s important to get the younger guys to buy in early in their careers.

That’s never an issue with Cascade Christian. As the viewpoint goes, if you don’t put in the work, you’re not playing. It’s about putting the best team product on the field, and it starts in the offseason on these hot days in the weight room.

“It’s that simple: The guys who are going to be playing are the ones who show the effort in here and on the field,” Snyder said.

Even veterans who played significant roles in Cascade Christian’s title run last season, such as seniors Jared Flattum and Kyle Milton, understand the need to work hard, really make these summer hours count in attempting to reclaim that taste in the Dome.

“The guys are working really hard because they saw that fight we had last year,” Milton said. “They want that same fight, they want that same desire, so they’re working hard every day.”

“You just got to work hard and put in the work to what you want to be,” Flattum added. “We want to win championships (here).”

That’s the attitude head coach Randy Davis and his staff seek in their players. The season’s never over, as it’s always about the next class coming up. It’s these players’ time to show who they are to Davis and coaches.

With this staff, eyes are always watching.

“When (the coaches) get together, we’re always talking about depth chart,” Snyder said. “Sometimes players come out of nowhere to jump on our radar … as long as a guy shows he’s willing to put the time in the weight room and work hard on the field, we’ll give him a chance to prove himself.”

Getting the team to buy in is never hard when the results are always present. The yearly success these last few fall seasons could be seen as enough to motivate a player or a team to do the little things to improve. It helps encourage incoming players, but it’s not the factor that drives someone. It’s those moments of seeing how much an individual improves that drives them forward.

Such is the case with lineman Michael Parnell.

“You have to put in a good amount work, but all the work definitely pays off in the end,” he said. “You can tell when you’re playing that all the work in the offseason will carry over to the season.”

“We’re in there every single day of the year,” Peyton Berry said. “We’re trying to work real hard in not being one and done.”

With only a few weeks left before the start of the new season with August camps, Cascade Christian is putting its time in the weight room, working on the little things.