Edmonds-Woodway plans to ramp up its passing attack | Football

Warriors bring back almost their entire defensive unit
By David Pan | Sep 05, 2019
Photo by: David R Pan Edmonds-Woodway senior quarterback Read Carr fires a pass during an offensive drill at Edmonds Stadium.

Expect to see some changes with the Edmonds-Woodway offense this season.

The graduation of two-time, all-league running back Capassio Cherry likely means the Warriors will be ramping up the passing game to complement their ground attack.

Head coach John Gradwohl, who is entering his 24th season at the helm of Edmonds-Woodway, said that his team is still looking to find its identity.

“I hope our identity is balanced,” he said. “Last year obviously we were run heavy because we had a real good running back.”

To help facilitate the balanced approach, the offense will be running out of a pistol formation, where the quarterback lines up about four yards behind the center. Pistol is similar to the more common known shotgun in which the quarterback is about seven yards back of the line.

The new formation moves senior quarterback Read Carr out from under the center and gives him a better view of the defense.

“It allows us to do I formation plays like we’ve done in the past,” Gradwohl said. “It gives us some flexibility and adds a few tweaks to things we can do.”

In the pistol formation teams often have a running back or two behind the quarterback as opposed to the backs being parallel to the right or left in shotgun. The Edmonds-Woodway coach added that the Warriors also run shotgun.

“I feel like the receivers are ahead of last year. We’d like to make teams defend everything,” Gradwohl said. “I feel like we got more payback out of spring football, which led into how we’re doing right now. I feel like we’re in a better place.”

Carr has confidence in both the Warriors’ run and passing game.

“We are passing the ball a lot more this year this year,” he said. “Coach Gradwohl and I, we really like shotgun (pistol) and how it fits our offense this year.”

The Warriors aren’t relying on one player to take over Cherry’s role in the offense. A number of players are expected carry the load, including senior Ben Grimes, a standout linebacker. He’ll be joined by juniors Dillon Rundorff, Steele Swinton and Forest Newton.

“We have a little more depth than last year,” Gradwohl said. “It’s good to see more guys play and not have quite as many guys going both ways.”

Grimes is ready for an expanded role in the backfield and is looking forward to seeing how his teammates perform.

“I think we’re going to have more of a running back by committee this year,” Grimes said. “We definitely have a lot of guys who can carry the ball. It’s not going to be a one-man show like Capassio last year. … We’ve got a good group of wide receivers. A good group of playmakers.”

Carr expects the offensive line, led by honorable mention selection Anthony Wood, to continue to develop.

“We have a lot of returners. Our O-line was relatively young last year,” Carr said. “Now we have a lot of second-year starters on varsity and a couple of new faces have filled in.”

Woo likes how the line is coming together.

“Our returners know what they’re doing,” he said. “They’re coaching up these new guys. … Everything seems to be a lot faster this year with this group.”

While the Edmonds-Woodway offense is still getting settled, the defense returns experience up and down the lineup.

A year ago, Edmonds-Woodway had only one player with any significant time playing varsity ball. This year the Warriors bring back just about every key player, including junior defensive back Evan Graves, senior defensive back Ousman Fatty, senior linebacker Grimes and junior lineman Joseph DeBella.

The experience and more importantly the returning leadership should bolster the defense.

“We had a bunch of guys playing varsity for the first time and there was nobody on the field to kind of help them be a leader,” Gradwohl said of last season. “They were all kind of looking for a leader. This year, it will be different. These guys have all played a full year.”

Grimes has high expectations for the defense.

“Defensively, I think we’ve got one of the best units coming back in Wesco,” he said.

Edmonds-Woodway opens the season against Glacier Peak at 5 p.m., Friday, Sept. 6, at Edmonds Stadium.

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