Edmonds-Woodway looks to defend league crown | Football

First-team, all-league running back leads the Warrior offense
Aug 30, 2018
Photo by: David R. Pan Edmonds-Woodway senior Capassio Cherry runs against Mariner during a jamboree at Goddard Stadium.

The defending Wesco 3A South football champions face a daunting task this season.

The Warriors are missing eight first-team, all-league players from a year ago and also are without the quarterback who led them to a 6-0 league record and into the state playoffs. The defense that limited Wesco 3A South opponents to a league low 13.7 points returns only one player with any significant varsity experience.

But with the longest-tenured coach in the area (23 years and counting) – John Gradwohl – and arguably the best running back in the league – first-team, all-league senior Capassio Cherry – the Warriors still should be in the hunt for another league championship.

Cherry is looking forward to his final season at Edmonds-Woodway and is upbeat about the team’s prospects for continued success.

“I’m super excited for my senior year,” he said. “We hope to win another Wesco championship and try to head back to the state playoffs once again.”

The Warriors will rely on Cherry, both on and off the field. Gradwohl noted that the Edmonds-Woodway standout has worked hard on his football and leadership skills.

“He’s a strong young man,” Gradwohl said. “Hopefully, we don’t have to jump on his back too much this year. But there are going to be times when he’s going to have to carry us. He’s that kind of a player.”

Senior defensive back Jack Kramer has faced Cherry in practice for five years and predicts trouble for the opposition.

“They’re going to have a tough time against Cap,” Kramer said.

“I just want him to have a great year and have a lot of fun,” Gradwohl added. “He’s a hard runner. He’s a nice kid. The sky’s the limit for him.”

Two returners – senior Josh Brown and junior Anthony Woo, lead the offensive line. Gradwohl wasn’t sure how the line was going to shape up, but so far the newcomers are doing well.

“We’re still learning a lot,” Gradwohl said. “I think we’re going to be OK up front.”

Cherry also has confidence in his teammates.

“They’re all hard workers. I feel like they need to jell a little bit together, learn their assignments and keep executing,” Cherry said. “I think they’ll be pretty good.”

Senior Patrick Norton and junior Reed Carr were battling for the starting quarterback role and Gradwohl said that he plans to play both of them in the season opener against Glacier Peak. (7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 31, at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Snohomish)

“Both deserve a chance to play,” he said. “Both need to be ready for league.”

Gradwohl added that because of overall lower numbers, both Norton and Carr may see some time on defense.

While much of the offense will revolve around Cherry, Gradwohl noted that other players are going to need to step up to take some of the pressure off of their all-league running back.

“Hopefully, we’ll move the ball around and keep people guessing,” he said.

Wide receiver Erroll Richards, Marcus Dilworth Christian Simpson and Ben Grimes all are solid targets for Norton and Carr.

“If we can use the field and spread the field with quick passes and keep people honest, I think that’s obviously going to help our running game with Cap,” Gradwohl said. “If they’re going to get everybody in to stop Cap, we’ve got to be able to take advantage and move the ball out there and get the ball in the hands of some of our other playmakers.”

The defense is totally revamped with senior Grayson LeCompte the only player with significant varsity experience.

Kramer, who started one game and saw limited action, has assumed a major leadership role with the defense.

“He understands our defense,” Gradwohl said. “He was here every day in the weight room. The kids really respect him. He’s a smart kid. You can throw a lot on his shoulders. He can handle it.”

The Warriors will be successful on defense if the players trust one another, Kramer said.

“The key is being able to connect with each other and knowing that the guy next to you is going to be able to fill his position and do his job to the best of his ability, which allows you to be able to do your job even better,” Kramer said.

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