Both schools bring new coaches into the 2013 season

by: ESTACADA NEWS: PARKER LEE - Estacada players rush onto the field before Saturdays intrasquad scrimmage. The dog days of summer are over and the high school football season has finally arrived. The lights of Friday night will illuminate an Estacada team in transition, but one eager to get out and show what it can do. The Rangers, led by new head coach Andy Mott, host Taft High in Friday’s season opener.

Mott has been pleased with what he has seen from his Rangers in camp and thinks they are prepared for the first kickoff. That readiness was evident in last Saturday’s team scrimmage.

“The most encouraging thing for me was to see the progress they have made in such a short time. It was great for us to get some game action with referees in our Green and White Game, but we are ready for a real game against a real opponent,” Mott said. “We don’t know a whole lot about Taft, but they have a new coach as well and we know they will be ready to play.”

The Rangers will lean on quarterback Willie Blankenship and running back Steven Weaver as they run their option offense. Blankship led two scoring drives in Saturday’s scrimmage as the team’s signal-caller, while Weaver broke off a long touchdown run. The option attack will also keep the Taft offense off the field.

Estacada’s depth is its biggest question mark, but it helps that multiple offensive players can also play defense.

“We have some athletic kids with a lot of experience, so we will have some guys who play both ways throughout the season,” Mott said.

Blankenship played with the first defense on Saturday and recorded an interception at safety. Weaver will do the place-kicking for the team, and he could see some time on defense.

Regardless of who is out there, the Rangers will be centered mentally on limiting mistakes and doing their jobs.

“Our main focus is going to be on being fundamentally sound,” Mott said. “We can’t forget what we have been doing in practice and we have to bring that same mindset into the game.”

Estacada is hoping to get out to a fast start in Friday’s opener, but they especially would like to get an early win to start the season fast. The Rangers started hot last year as they jumped out to a 5-2 record. The team fizzled late in the season, but this year’s crew is looking forward to proving it can play at a high level from start to finish.

“We’re just excited to go out and play,” Mott said. “The first game is about getting out there and having fun.”

Taft and Estacada will kick-off the 2013 season on Friday at 7:00 p.m.

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