By WILL HOLLAND

Here’s an inside look at the 1A Nooksack Valley Pioneers.

Links: Nooksack Valley team page | 2019 schedule

2018 IN REVIEW

5-5 overall record, 1-5 in 1A Northwest League

COACHING RESUME

HC: Robb Myhre

102-93 (20th season as head coach)

Coordinators: TJ Ackerman (OC); Jessy Dykstra (DC).

Base schemes: Spread offense, 4-4 defense

RETURNING 

Offense – 4. Defense – 3.

TOP RETURNERS

QB/SS Cole Eldridge, 6-0, 160, Sr.

TE/LB Ryan Veening, 6-4, 225, Sr.

OL/DL Easton Zylstra, 5-11, 200, Sr.

WR/DB Scout Whittern, 5-11, 155, Jr.

RB/LB Dane Winter, 5-10, 170, Sr.

THREE TO SEE

TE/LB Ryan Veening, 6-4, 225, Sr.

Veening comes into his senior year as one of the biggest linebackers in the league. We’ll see if that size can translate into some physicality on the field, as the Pioneers replace quite a few guys on defense this year. 

RB/LB Dane Winter, 5-10, 170, Sr.

While a bit undersized at linebacker, the incoming senior is listed as being able to bench press 300 lbs. If Winter can translate that strength onto the field this year, we’re looking at a solid linebacking core for Nooksack Valley

QB/SS Cole Eldridge, 6-0, 160, Sr.

Eldridge steps into his first year as a starter at QB, as the Pioneers lose last year’s starter Austin O’Bryan to graduation. Time will tell if he’ll be able to handle the spotlight.

OUTLOOK

The Pioneers went 5-5 last year with a last place league finish coming off of a playoff run in 2017. That can be partially chalked up to a tough league – all three of the other teams in the Northwest League (Meridian, Mount Baker, and Lynden Christian) went to the playoffs last year. The league won’t be any easier to handle this fall, and Nooksack Valley loses 15 guys to graduation to boot. Coach Myhre, who comes into his 20th season as head coach, tells us that the Pioneers “have a pretty fresh group with lots of new players in new positions,” but thinks that they “should be able to score points”. As for the defense, the team will have to really come together if they expect to compete in a league with some high-powered offenses. All that said, the Pioneers have an outside shot of returning to the playoffs this year if they can pull off some big-time wins in league.

2019 SCHEDULE

Sept. 6, 7:30 p.m.: at Sehome

Sept. 13, 7 p.m.: at Granite Falls

Sept. 20, 7 p.m.: Kings

Sept. 27, 7 p.m.: at Meridian

Oct. 4, 7 p.m.: Lynden Christian

Oct. 11, 7 p.m.: at Mt. Baker

Oct. 18, 7 p.m.: Meridian

Oct. 25, 7 p.m.: at Lynden Christian

Nov. 1, 7 p.m.: Mt. Baker

*home games in bold

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