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Cascade quarterback Cole Warnaca sneaks across the goal line for a winning, overtime touchdown against Okanogan. 

LEAVENWORTH — Hopes are high for the Cascade Kodiak football team this season as they return a mostly senior lineup. Cascade finished 2-2 in the Caribou Trail League last season, in a three-way tie for second place with Okanogan and Cashmere. Omak was league champs at 4-0.

Cascade ended the season with a 31-9 defeat at Deer Park in the NEA League crossover game. This will be the fifth year at the helm for Cascade Head Coach Dom Coffin.

“We have a really solid team this year. We have a group of seniors that have been playing together since they were freshmen. Our expectations are pretty high for this group. We’ll be a team pretty much of juniors and seniors, so all upperclassmen,” Coffin said.

One word can be used to describe the Kodiaks...speed. Mostly of their returning skill guys can really motor. Coffin said it is nice to have a lot of good speed.

The offensive led will be strong led by senior Hunter Reinhart (6-2, 280) and junior Eric Rosario (5-9, 185). On defense, Coffin said they will try and keep things as simple as possible.

“Our defense proved themselves this summer in terms of what they’ll be about to do. We were able to stop the run and pass, so hopefully we can take that into the season,” he said.

The Kodiaks have been running the same offense and defense for several years, so it has been the same for all the seniors since they were freshmen.

Coffin feels Omak is still the team to beat, as they bring back a mostly senior team.

“Omak is returning a lot of guys. They have a good junior class. Cashmere will be really strong again. They had a good class of sophomores, so they’ll be juniors. Both Okanogan and Chelan are going to be good as well,” Coffin said. “Our league was pretty young last year, so a lot of our teams are bringing their groups back.”

The preseason schedule features some tough tests, Coffin hopes it will prepare them for league competition, Naches Valley, Ephrata, Mount Baker, Kings and Cheney.

“All the teams we played last year either made it to state or had a play-in game for state. I’m expecting those teams to be good again,” Coffin said of the schedule. “We’ll get a good challenge during the non-league season, then roll into league play. We’ll be going to Omak and Okanogan, then be at home against Cashmere and Chelan. It will be a good test for us. Hopefully, we can peak at the end.”

Cascade opens the season on Friday, Sept. 6 at home against Naches Valley.

Ian Dunn: 664-7157