Head Coach: Zane Hobart
Years as Head Coach: 6th Season
Record Last Year: 7-3
State Titles: 2001
Chase Burke, 11
Cooper Hewett, 11
Alex Sneve, 11
Donald Morgan, 10
Key Players lost from last year:
Jerry Gorbett, QB
Brian Lawrence, OL/LB
Hayden Deeds, OL/DL
Brian Carter, RB
Photo By: Mark Borth - #9 Cooper Hewett
Incoming impact players:
Maison Anderson, OL/LB, 9
Kolby Anderson, TE/DE, 9
Matthew Fletcher, OL/LB, 10
Rylan Hogan, TE/DE, 10
Written By: Will Hoenike
Kendrick head coach Zane Hobart, entering his sixth season atop the Tiger program, lost a special group of seniors following last season.
Jerry Gorbett, Brian Lawrence, Hayden Deeds and Brian Carter were part of a class that went 27-13 on the field between 2014 and 2017, reaching the 2016 1A Division 2 state championship game.
But this is a new year. And there’s a new group ready to take the reins and continue the positive momentum for the Tigers in the White Star League.
Kendrick has reached the state playoffs in each of the past four seasons and appears – despite the departure of a strong senior class – to have the talent to extend that streak to five in 2018.
Gone is three-year starting quarterback Jerry Gorbett. In steps junior Alex Sneve. Gone is speedy running back Brian Carter. In steps Chris Burke and Cooper Hewett, also both juniors. Though the losses of Gorbett and Carter are big, Hobart really likes the trio he has in place to step into those roles.
“Chase Burke, Cooper Hewett and Alex Sneve all have that ‘big play’ ability,” Hobart noted. “Cooper Hewett will be the fastest kid I have ever coached. All three of these kids were starters last season as sophomores and have each gained anywhere from 15 to 20 pounds and are looking to have big years.”
Hewett, as a sophomore, finished fourth at the state track and field championships last fall in the 100-meter dash. Speed like that on a field with three fewer defenders than the 11-man game can, by itself, be a big-time game changer.
Gone is four-year starter Hayden Deeds along the offensive and defensive lines. Also gone is Brian Lawrence, a player who Hobart said, “was the toughness to our team” in 2017. Helping to fill the void is sophomore Donald Morgan, a player who could have a similar impact due to his size and strength.
A key note on the four players stepping up for Kendrick – none are seniors. In fact, Hobart said there weren’t any seniors on the roster. The core of the 2018 team will be together for at least two seasons, which any coach would love.
Joining Morgan up front will be freshman Maison Anderson and sophomore Matthew Fletcher. The pair will slide back to linebacker on the defensive side of the ball while freshman Kolby Anderson and sophomore Rylan Hogan play along the defensive front. Hogan is returning after missing last season with an injury.
“We have to be better on our defensive line, that includes all three, physicality being the main focus,” Hobart observed. “We will rely heavily on big Donald Morgan to hold that line and cause havoc. Donald is 6’3, 270 (pounds) and hopes to have a big year after not playing defense much last year.”
Kendrick plays five of its first six games at home in 2018, with the lone road game coming on September 7 in Nezperce against a good Lewis County team. The Eagles could be a prime challenger to the both Kendrick and Deary, who have been the two White Star League representatives in the state playoffs each of the past four seasons. Kendrick also plays at Deary on October 12, which figures to be another tough test away from its home field.
“I’m excited to keep the small tradition we have started in Kendrick with producing good football teams and great atmosphere on Friday nights in Kendrick,” Hobart concluded. “A lot of people think this is a ‘rebuilding’ year for us and our kids are ready to prove that statement wrong and like to think we simply are ‘reloading’ with some fresh faces.”