Written by Zack Kellogg
The 2019 season saw the Moscow Bears make their second state tournament appearance after winning back-to-back league titles for the 4A Inland Empire League.
The keys to success came from the experience of the offense with a creative playbook at their disposal and an arsenal of weapons, while the defense played fast and aggressive from sideline to sideline.
The Bears offense averaged over 28 points per game and only scored less than 24 points once all season in their 3-13 loss to Middleton in the playoffs. The attack is led by senior quarterback Chad Redinger, coming off a 2019 campaign that saw him score 24 touchdowns, 14 passing and 10 rushing, compared to three interceptions over eight games.
“Everything we do on the offensive side of the ball is run through our QB, from the run game to decision making in the pass game,” Moscow Head Coach Phil Helbling said. “We tick as our QB does. Chad will be a three-year starter for us. We are looking for big things from him as a senior.”
Despite injuries forcing Redinger to sit out for a game in Week 3 and against Lakeland for the league championship late in the game, the Bears’ quarterback found ways to get it down on the ground with read options or finding the open man downfield.
Moscow will have a noticeable lack of height on the outside offensively, with wide receivers Brayden Decker and Ben Postell gone after a season as major threats in the passing game. But the Bears still have speed and hands to pick up the production.
Running back Brandon Suquet has the speed to take the handoff or catch out of the backfield and turn a short play into a big gain while being an additional threat to the run attack with Redinger. The ground game is only successful, however, if the offensive line produces. Luckily for Moscow, the Bears saw only one lineman depart after graduation.
Kaden Kiblen, Tyler Skinner, Preston Bielemberg and Micah Elliss make up the returners on the offensive line with Loch Tate slated to move into the open spot.
Tight end and linebacker Jonah Elliss is the swiss army knife for the Bears. Serving as not only a key blocker and pass catcher offensively, but the leader of the defense, Jonah Elliss has garnered attention from multiple Division-I programs including the University of Louisville and the University of Idaho.
With most team members having positions on both sides of the ball, the voids needed to be filled are Decker and Logan Shears at defensive back, Postell at safety, and Marsh rotating in on the defensive line.
The goals defensively, much like the roster, are also unchanged for Helbling and his staff.
“Discipline, tough, play fast and get after the QB. Stop the run and make teams one dimensional.”
With veteran talent, big-game experience, and a system that has shown positive results, the Bears are a dangerous team entering the 2020 season.
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