New coach, new corps of gridiron leaders developing at PRLHS

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(Photo courtesy BRAD MARTIN) As its newest varsity football head coach, Brad Martin Jr. is optimistic and working hard to strengthen Priest River’s football program.

PRIEST RIVER — The Spartan football program has a promising future, said new varsity head coach Brad Martin June 22. The first-year head coach is taking his players and coaches to Eastern Washington University for a team camp this week, following two weeks of morning practices on their home field. Martin said he’s got a batch of seniors and juniors who have already stood out for their leadership on the field and dedication to the program.

“I’m already seeing a group of seniors and juniors who are ready to lead the team by example through hard work, dedication and putting the team first. Some of our leaders so far in camp have been Dausen O’Brien, Robbie Anselmo, Riley Dement, Keegan Hegel, Kody Salesky, Caleb Blancher, Derrick Melton, and Tanner Cochrane.”

His goals this summer are to “work to make our team faster, quicker, stronger and more athletic through the weight room, agilities, speed drills and off season team activities.” He added, “I want players to continue to work to understand the offense and defense as well as stay committed to the team through the weight room and off season workouts.”

He said that the “team first” philosophy will carry the team far next season. Martin said he envisions a defense that gets the ball back to the offense, and an offense that puts up points to allow the defense to play aggressively against opponents trying to rally from behind.

Martin encouraged community residents, family members, friends, and fellow Spartans to come out to the football team’s home games and to accompany them on the road, too.

“Please support your local high school football team. Come to games, bring families, make it special and a great community event. We only get 4-5 home games a year so they truly are important to all of us in the program to represent well. Come on the road and follow us the whole season. Please support the booster club and all their efforts to improve our players’ high school football experience.”

High school football offers a unique experience and one that the players and fans will not enjoy elsewhere in life, he said.

“Football is a special game. It’s the ultimate team sport and there is a very finite amount of time you get to put on that uniform as a high school athlete. There’s not normally a whole lot of times you get cheered on in life by large crowds and get to represent your team, family, school and community in such a special manner. I encourage all kids grades 9-12 who want to try out for football and be part of a true team in every sense of the word to give football a shot.”

He said he feels good about the depth that the current roster, but hopes that even more players will turn out to deepen the team on both offense and defense. He praised the players that have been developed in the local youth and junior high levels for their “good fundamentals and quality football knowledge.”

Martin comes to Priest River with experience playing linebacker and quarterback at Deer Park High School, and seven years of high school football coaching experience at Priest River, Columbia and Deer Park High Schools.

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