Tenino football coach Jeff Zenisek will turn to several younger players as he looks to replace last year’s talented senior class.
That class featured Devante Harris, an all-everything player capable of scoring from anywhere on the field, and prolific quarterback Mac Shaw, who threw for 2,215 yards and rushed for 991 while accounting for 33 touchdowns.
“We had a great group of seniors last year, a lot of talent,” said Zenisek, who enters his fourth season with the Beavers. “When I took over the program the main goal was to change the culture around here. This year’s group has worked hard to try to continue to do that.”
While the Beavers won’t field anyone with the explosiveness of Harris – the speedster posted nearly 2,000 all-purpose yards and 20 scores last year – Zenisek does have a workhorse in running back Zack Chamberlain, who earned first-team all-league honors as a linebacker in 2012.
“Zack’s just a special player,” Zenisek said. “He’s going to be a four-year starter on both sides of the ball for us. That’s a pretty rare feat for any high school player. He’s a physical player who has really taken on that leadership role as a senior. Just a fun player to coach.”
Despite featuring several young faces, including sophomores Nihls Peterson (6-3, 190) and Riley Noonan (6-0, 210), Zenisek listed his offensive line as one of the team’s strengths.
“We had a lot of freshmen see the field last year,” Zenisek said. “We think that’s really going to benefit us this year. They are sophomores, but we are going to ask them to act like seniors.”
One of those freshman starters last season was Thomas Pier, who returns after earning honorable mention league honors.
Replacing Shaw under center is still being decided. Zenisek says junior Zeb Chamberlain, Zack’s younger brother, and sophomore Calvin Guzman are currently battling for the starting job.
Zeb Chamberlain, who missed early playing time last season due to a ruptured spleen, backed up Shaw last year, while Guzman helped lead the Beavers’ junior varsity to a 7-2 record.
“Calvin’s not as strong a runner as Mac was and he’s not as athletic as Devante was. Calvin’s somewhere in between, which isn’t a bad place to be,” Zenisek said. “Both Jeb and Calvin will be in the mix. We run a spread offense here. Having Devante the last couple years allowed us to throw it around a little more. We will try to power run it with Zack a little more this season, but we still want to be able to throw.”
Tenino, which returns four starters on offense, three on defense and kicker/punter Kendall Cadwell, has posted 7-3 and 6-4 marks the past two seasons, respectively, each year losing in the state preliminary round.
“They have been working hard trying to get to that next step,” Zenisek said.
About the Beavers
Coach: Jeff Zenisek, fourth year
2012 record: 6-4, third in 1A SWW Evergreen; lost district playoff game.
Offense: Coordinator (set) – Kevin Ridout (spread); returning starters – 4
Top players: RB Zack Chamberlain, 5-10, 180, sr.; OL Nihls Peterson, 6-3, 190, so.; K/P Kendall Cadwell, 6-3, 180, sr.
Defense: Coordinator (set) – Zenisek (4-3); returning starters – 3
Top players: DL Riley Noonan, 6-0, 210, so.; LB Thomas Pier, 5-9, 170, so.
All games at 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 6: RAYMOND
Friday, Sept. 13: at Washougal
Friday, Sept. 20: at Elma *
Friday, Sept. 27: at Forks *
Friday, Oct. 4: RAINIER *
Friday, Oct. 11: LA CENTER
Friday, Oct. 18: at Montesano *
Friday, Oct. 25: HOQUIAM *
Friday, Nov. 1: ROCHESTER * * Denotes 1A SWW Evergreen game; home games in CAPS email@example.com