SVSJ preview: Cedarcrest football also begins new era – with new head coach in a different league landscape yet again for the second year in a row

EDITOR’S NOTE: Back to the gridiron we go on this Wednesday and feature the Cedarcrest High School football program, as it embarks on its first season under new head coach John Fiala. Tomorrow, a look at CHS volleyball.

The Cedarcrest High School football program enters a new era this fall. After a 3-6 season last fall in their first season in the Wesco Conference, former coach Billy Ojeda stepped down and was replaced by someone who, while he may be doing this for the first time at the high school level, is no stranger to the game.

John Fiala took over for Ojeda and has been hard at work since his hiring getting things ready for this fall. The former University of Washington and NFL player has been involved with the Cedarcrest junior football program in recent seasons, so this will be an opportunity for him to coach some kids he’s probably familiar with from his time there in the junior program.

Leading the group of returners will be senior QB Cameron Kohlruss, who’ll also play at defensive back this season, senior running backs Spencer Coomer and Sean Shannon, junior QB Carter “Deuce” Knowles, who you all know from his success with the Red Wolves baseball program, and sophomore receiver/defensive back Luke Amble. A pair of senior newcomers of note include lineman Cameron Brady and receiver/linebacker Dawson Cairns. In all, Fiala has 15 seniors to work with this fall, so a good bit of experience to draw from in his first year. Other seniors to keep an eye on as well include kicker/receiver Nathan Gerde and tight end Garrett Bezdicek Smith.

Fiala is implementing some core principles into the program. “We are building a family of champions with a solid foundation of academics while competing with integrity and passion,” he told us by email. Those attributes are part of a compass of goals which also include such things as discipline, effort, character, loyalty, team unity and a positive attitude while having fun doing it. In all, Fiala’s looking to build a program that not only can stand the test of time moving forward, but produce not just great athletes, but solid young men who will be successful in college and as young adults.

With Fiala being new to the league, he’s taking a modest approach to the season. “This is my first season and will be taking each week as it comes. I will know more as the season progresses,” the coach said. That all said, the Lake Division of the Northwest District once again shapes up to be interesting. Of the three wins the Red Wolves had last season, just one came in division – against Anacortes, who this year is not fielding a team due to low numbers, so the thing to pay attention to will be whether Cedarcrest can find a win somewhere in division among the three remaining opponents in it this year (Blaine also left the Lake Division as they were promoted to the higher-caliber Sky division), especially as all three of those games are away. Considering what they appear to be doing preparation-wise, we’d expect the chances of them doing this are relatively good.

We would look for Sehome, who finished 7-4 last season and made the state playoffs, to likely be the team to watch out of the division. Bellingham as well, being a member normally of the Northwest Conference, which tends to have solid football up that direction, could also be a team to watch.

The season opens Friday at home against Sammamish, and they have home games scheduled as well on September 20 – against Sultan – and October 18 – against Lindbergh. The team has an open date of October 4 which is when they were scheduled to play Anacortes. That date has not been filled. Games will begin at 7:00 p.m. other than the game on October 25 against Mountlake Terrace up at Edmonds Stadium, which will be an 8:00 p.m. start. Home games are at Cedarcrest High School’s stadium in Duvall, 29000 NE 150th St.

Rhett Workman

About Rhett Workman

Rhett Workman is the editor of the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal. Workman is a veteran sports journalist, having covered Snoqualmie Valley sports for nearly a decade with the Snoqualmie Valley Record newspaper before starting up the SVSJ. Workman's coverage has earned the support and respect of Valley coaches, players, parents and fans, and the SVSJ continues the standard of coverage that Workman brought to the Valley Record.
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