Grizzlies seek more wins | Football
Last updated 9/5/2017 at Noon
The Glacier Peak football team rose to the challenge.
After a decade as a 3A school, the Grizzlies moved up to 4A last year and were more than ready to take on tougher competition.
Glacier Peak went 4-3 in the Wesco 4A and earned the league’s final playoff berth. The Grizzlies ended the season with a tough loss to eventual state semifinal Sumner in a quad-district game and finished 5-5 overall.
“I’m happy we made it to the playoffs,” said junior quarterback/co-captain Ayden Ziomas. “It was definitely a big transition going from 3A to 4A and getting to see some different teams We’re not satisfied with last year’s 5-5 record. That’s just an average record. I think we’re better than that as a team. So this year I’m pushing for a league championship and going far in the playoffs.”
Senior running back/linebacker Bo Burns noted that Glacier Peak has never experienced a losing season and has posted .500 years only twice.
“We felt good about going to the playoffs,” Burns said. “But we wanted to have a winning season.”
As with most programs, the Grizzlies lost some key players among a talented 30-member senior class.
When coach Nick Bender shares that information, people sometimes are alarmed and wonder about Glacier Peak’s depth.
Bender tells them not to worry. The Grizzlies’ overall numbers are as robust as they’ve ever been.
“Even though we graduated 30-plus last year, this senior class is also 30-plus,” Bender said. “We had the biggest freshman class year. We bumped up to 58 freshmen last year. Our numbers overall are still the same.”
A core philosophy of Glacier Peak is rotating as many players into the game as possible. So even though half of the starting lineups on both sides of the ball are new this season, the Grizzlies come in with varsity experience.
“We’re going to have some new starters, some fresh faces,” Bender said. “But everyone that’s going are guys who saw quite a bit of time last year because we sub quite a bit. We try to get as many kids playing time as possible and keep the kids as fresh as possible.
“So the first time they step on the field, it won’t be the first time they’ve had varsity experience.”
Ziomas headed into his third season at quarterback and leads what should be another high-powered and unpredictable offense. The Grizzlies scored 37 or more points in five of the team’s 10 games in 2016.
Bender expects fans to continue to sit on the edge of their seats.
“Every game or for that matter every drive might be different,” Bender said.
Glacier Peak might line up with an empty backfield or bring in two tight ends. The goal is to create some uncertainty with the defense.
“I’ve always believed that from a defensive perspective, cloudy minds equal slow feet,” Bender said. “So the more you can confuse or make them second guess, the easier it is for you to do you base offense.
“I think the fans will find something whether it’s old school football fans or the new age football fans. They’ll find something to relate to in how we play.”
Burns, along with junior linebacker Evan Mannes and senior defensive back Heston Pettis, lead the defense. The experience is concentrated in the secondary and the linebacker corps. All three linemen are new starters, though Bender again noted they aren’t new to varsity action.
“They played last year,” he said. “I’ve never been a big fan of the word starter.”
Bender said is pushing his players as hard as they’ve ever been pushed and they are responding.
“We’re getting more mentally prepared than we were in the beginning of the season last year,” Ziomas said.