No. 7 Connell Eagles: 2019 Washington high school 1A football preview

By WILL HOLLAND

Connell is ranked No. 7 in Scorebook Live Washington’s preseason 1A football Top 10. Here’s an inside look at the 2019 Eagles.

Links: Connell team page | 2019 schedule | Roster

2018 IN REVIEW

7-3 overall record, 5-1 in 1A South Central – East League; lost to Colville in first round of playoffs, 48-7 .

COACHING RESUME

Head coach: Wayne Riner, 20th season.

Overall record: 173-48

Coordinators: Jon Van Hulzen (OC); Dan Kaemingk (DC).

Base schemes: Spread offense, 4-3 defense

RETURNING 

Offense – 7. Defense – 6.

TOP RETURNERS

RB/LB Jekoby Tuttle, 5-10, 170, Sr.

WR/S Keyan Francois, 5-10, 175, Sr.

OL/DL Vicente Rodriguez, 5-10, 255, Sr.

WR/DB Alemu Keskitalo, 5-10, 150, Sr. 

OL/DL Luis Hernandez, 6-1, 280, Sr.

THREE TO SEE

RB/LB Jekoby Tuttle, 5-10, 170, Sr.

Tuttle returns for his senior campaign with a first team all-league tailback selection under his belt from last season, as the only non-senior offensive player selected to the first team. He won’t have his two fellow first team selections from the offensive line this year in Tony Hermann and Anthony Peralta, which could present a challenge for the back.

OL/DL Vicente Rodriguez, 5-10, 255, Sr.

One of the most imposing forces in the league last year at defensive tackle. He was an all-league first team selection last year on the defensive line, and will continue to be useful in stopping the run.

WR/S Keyan Francois, 5-10, 175, Sr.

Francois enters 2019 hoping to fill the shoes of 2018 all-league first team wideout Payton Riner. With his combination of speed and elusiveness, the Eagles will certainly try and get this kid in open space as much as possible. 

OUTLOOK

The question for Connell going to the season: how will the Eagles bounce back from their early playoff exit in 2019? Connell took a tough first round playoff loss to eventual state champion Colville last fall, but their season was a huge success overall. That loss was among their three total — the other two coming against 1A powerhouse and league champion Royal and 2A Othello. The Eagles earned their 14th consecutive playoff berth. They lose all-state defensive tackle Tony Hermann, who also started on the O-line and offered some huge plays for the Eagles on both sides of the ball. In response to this loss, as well as the loss of an all league selection in OL/DL Anthony Peralta, the line will be a huge point of emphasis for head coach Wayne Riner.

2019 SCHEDULE

Sept. 6, 7 p.m.: at Othello

Sept. 13, 7 p.m.: at Sandpoint

Sept. 20, 7 p.m.: at College Place

Sept. 27, 7 p.m.: Wahluke

Oct. 4, 7 p.m.: at Naches Valley

Oct. 11, 7 p.m.: Royal

Oct. 18, 7 p.m.: at Warden

Oct. 25, 7 p.m.: at Kiona Benton

Nov. 1, 7 p.m.: River View

*home games in bold

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