Redmond High Youth Football Camp

When: Aug. 7-9

Cost: $30 (includes a camp T-shirt for registrations before Aug. 1)

Register: redmondhigh schoolfootballcamps.myonlinecamp.com

Redmond High’s new football coach has introduced a new twist on the traditional team captains.

Brent Wasche’s team features a leadership council, where players at each position vote on one of their own to represent them.

Five members of the council say the designation is rewarding.

“We remind the team why we stepped onto the team, and why we play, to what expectations we’re supposed to rise up to,” said junior tackle/defensive end Dylan Moss.

The council is one of the ideas Wasche, who is in his first varsity football head coaching job after stops at schools in Texas and Washington, has brought to Redmond. Wasche said it is something his teams have done in the past, including his most recent stop in Lampasas, Texas.

Players can move on or off the council during the season.

“It’s a fluid thing,” Wasche said. “Just because the players voted someone on, doesn’t mean he stays there. He has to earn it.”

Wasche has been in town six weeks after finishing up his duties in Texas. After two weeks of spring training and playing host to a camp with out-of-town teams, he’s been pleased with the team, which is coming off a 1-8 season (1-6 in Class 5A Special District 1) in 2017.

So far, he is “extremely excited” about the players on the team.

“I think they lend themselves well to the offensive system we’ll be running,” Wasche said.

Wasche said that will be a “heavy run-based offense.”

Wasche is in his 10th year of coaching. Before that, he served as an infantryman in the Marine Corps from 1999-2003. That included time in Baghdad, Iraq.

“I tell everybody else, I learned more about teaching and coaching in the Marines than anywhere else,” he said. “I worked with some great people and for some great people. You learn to manage stressful situations.”

Wasche’s time in the military was sandwiched by two stints playing college football. He said both his time playing at Texas A&M-Commerce and North Texas came to an end when the schools made coaching changes. He ultimately graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a kinesiology degree in 2009.

Wasche describes Mick Sload, a coach at Warwick High School in Pennsylvania, as a major influence on his decision to get into coaching. Sload assisted Wasche during his parents’ divorced, before he moved to Texas.

“Since I was a kid, I had a coach who had a huge impact on my life,” he said. “I wanted to give back in the way he helped me...He was a very intense guy. He had a love for the game, and a love for the kids.”

Wasche coached at several high schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth area before making a jump to Port Angeles, Washington, in 2015.

“I love the Pacific Northwest,” he said. “It’s about the climate, it’s about outdoor recreation, being able to do that sort of thing with my family.”

A family situation led Wasche to return to Texas, this time Lampasas, in the central part of the state, last season. But, with that looking better, he was able to return to the Northwest when the Redmond job came open.

Along with the geographical attractions of Central Oregon, like the Three Sisters, Lake Billy Chinook and Smith Rock, Wasche was impressed with Redmond School District Athletic Director Kevin Bryant, who has college and high school administrative experience throughout the Northwest.

“I was looking for an A.D. who could be a good mentor,” Wasche said. “Having Kevin Bryant here is a big plus.”

Wasche, who will teach biology and physical education at Redmond, also likes the ability to spend time away from football, something that’s tough in Texas, where it is practically a year-round sport.

He has built a staff with two returning coaches from the 2017 season, defensive coordinator Kris Davis and wide receivers coach Corby Kiler. Newcomers are offensive coordinator Bret Bordewick, line coach Chuck Quandt, running backs coach Joey Jacinto and linebackers coach Caleb Saulo, a former Oregon State team captain, who started most of his junior and senior seasons at linebacker in 2015 and 2016.

“They have all been working super hard,” Wasche said.

The next step is building a culture around the program. Wasche expects significant improvement in 2018.

“I think this is a playoff-caliber football team,” he said. “That’s our goal as a football team is to get back to the state playoffs and see what kind of damage we can do there.”

Wasche is also working on establishing core values of passion, pride, family, discipline, competition and ownership.

“Our kids have worked amazingly hard,” he said. “They’re buying in, they’re picking up our schemes a little faster than anticipated. There’s a lot to be excited about with Panther football. I’m super excited about what the kids will be able to get done in the fall.”

The Panthers reached the Class 5A quarterfinals in 2015 and 2016, under former coach Nathan Stanley. But they dropped off in 2017 under Gene Dales, who had been Stanley’s defensive coordinator before Stanley left for a position at Cleveland High in Portland.

The practices have been intense but rewarding, the players say. They feel like they are capable of returning to state contender status.

“We don’t lack any skills, whatsoever,” said Dillon Young, a senior offensive guard and nose tackle. “It’s just putting them to use.”

— Reporter: 541-548-2186, gfolsom@redmondspokesman.com

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