WESTPORT — Ocosta’s second-year head coach Brad Kesterson won’t deny that his team is still rebuilding, but the Wildcats feel good about their chances this season.
With a mix of experience at key positions and a talented group of incoming freshmen, Ocosta is looking forward to seeing how it does this year in the newly retooled Pacific 2B League.
On Friday, Sept. 5, Ocosta (1-4, 3-7) is scheduled to host Tacoma Baptist.
“There are several factors to our enthusiasm,” Kesterson said. “First off, the freshman class coming in. They were very successful as eighth graders. Second, the restructure of the Pacific 2B League. We lost a couple of long-standing, successful programs and I think we got the better end of the deal.
“Third, we got the best schedule,” he added. “The two toughest teams in the league — North Beach and Raymond — we won’t get them until weeks eight and nine.”
A core of experienced returning players will anchor the Wildcats, starting with senior tight end/middle linebacker/kicker Caleb Tackett.
Senior running back Connor Maben will be the speed element in Ocosta’s Wing-T offense. Junior quarterback Peter Samuelson will control the offense, with sophomores Dereck Thomas and Cosmo Silver seeing time as wingbacks.
Senior George Prigmore will anchor the offensive line at center, with junior tackles Tom Perrette and Mitchell Harnden bookending Prigmore. Kesterson added that competition to start at offensive guard on both sides of the ball is underway.
On defense, Tackett and Thomas will take over the linebacker corps in the inside, with Silver and Ryan Short, who won’t be available until week three due to injury, are the outside linebackers.
Perrette and Harnden will flip over to defensive tackle and Prigmore will be one of several defensive ends.
In the defensive backfield, Maben will take over at safety, while first-year player Connor Pegg and Mathew Hart will play on the corners.
As for the league, Kesterson noted North Beach and Raymond are the favorites. For the rest of the league, he sees Ocosta in the mix.
“I don’t think we’re at the bottom of the pile,” Kesterson said. “This year, I feel pretty good about this team.”
Assisting Kesterson this season are Loyal Linton (defensive coordinator), Pete Colleen and Keith Beck. Linton played at Aberdeen High School and Central Washington and is currently on the Grays Harbor Bearcats roster.