Scots QB primed for a hot year
When David Douglas football coach Dan Wood got home from a camping trip Monday night, he was a little surprised to find one of his players knocking on his door, mostly because of the time 11:30.
It was quarterback Kyle Bennett, who happened to be passing by.
'He stopped in to tell me how excited he was about the season, that he was counting the days until our first game,' Wood says. 'It was a little late in the evening, but that's the kind of enthusiasm that you want from your players.
'He got me excited.'
Bennett has been counting the days to the start of his senior season basically since the Scots lost to Tigard in the first round of the state playoffs last November.
At 6-3, 215 pounds, Bennett is primed to lead his team to the Mount Hood Conference title and to earn a college scholarship.
'We think we're going to be the team to beat in the Mount Hood,' says Bennett, who threw for 1,500 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. 'And I'm looking forward to the state playoffs. We've lost in the first round the last couple years. We need to improve on that.'
High school teams begin practices Aug. 18.
David Douglas' season opener is at Roseburg on Aug. 29, and the Scots play host to a formidable Portland Interscho-lastic League foe, Wilson, on Sept. 12.
Bennett should be one of the top Portland area college recruits at quarterback because of his size and athletic ability. He also plays small forward on the Scots' basketball team; he averaged 15.1 points per game last season.
Bennett skipped baseball season to begin preparing for football. His pitching talent might have helped the Scots contend for the state title in baseball, but he eventually voted to take time off from constantly playing one sport or another.
'I had been a three-sport guy throughout high school, and I just got burned out,' he says. 'I needed a break.'
Wood, who advised Bennett to stick with baseball, says he's been impressed by Bennett's work ethic.
'Other guys have taken the baseball season off and told me they were going to do things for football, and, well É, ' Wood says. 'Kyle actually followed through. He's been very focused.'
A bigger Bennett
Bennett says he has added 15 pounds of muscle and improved his bench press to 255 pounds, up 50 pounds from last year.
And he's been working on his skills with Taylor Barton, the former Beaverton High and University of Washington quarterback.
'He's helping me with my footwork, which is one of my weakest assets,' Bennett says. 'And he's giving me a little advice on recruiting.
'I'm coming into this season with a lot of confidence in myself. Last season, it took a while for me to work into that confidence.'
He's been throwing to receivers since January. Senior Blake Normine, his top receiver last season, sees Bennett as ready to have an impressive season.
'His accuracy is very good,' says Normine, who caught 43 passes for 600 yards last season. 'He's got great touch on the ball, and he's really good about working to make things better. He wants everything to be perfect.'
Back to the future
Bennett says he can throw 60 yards downfield, which should make use of Normine's sprinting skills.
Normine would like to be part of a tandem that hearkens back to Barton passing to Jesse Levin in 1999. Levin caught 107 passes that season for 2,042 yards and 28 touchdowns as the Beavers won the state title.
When Bennett thinks about hitting Normine 107 times in a season, it makes it hard for him to wait for camp.
'I'm really excited about this season,' he says. 'I've been looking forward to it for a long time.'