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Optimism Abounds as Falcons Wrap Up Spring Practice

  • Written by Derek Johnson
The latest edition of Woodinville Falcons gathered last week under the blazing sun as spring practice continued at Woodinville High School. The team that reached the State semi-finals last season has high hopes heading into the ‘19 campaign.
 
“We have fewer questions now than we had coming into camp last year,” Woodinville coach Wayne Maxwell said. “In some areas we are miles ahead of where we were last year.”
 
spring footballWoodinville quarterback Noah Stifle (Photo by Derek Johnson)
 
The offensive unit looked crisp as it ran plays against its defensive counterpart. 
 
“We had a good o-line which was in sync today,” Maxwell said. “A couple quarterbacks [Noah Stifle and Josh Spencer], and Joey [Johnson] running the ball strong in there. We have some returning receivers from last year... We have [Jack] Diskin back, Carter Smith out there, The Green Hornet [Cage Schenck], so some good experience out there.”
 
Offensive coordinator DJ Baddeley was effusive in his excitement – especially when asked about his senior quarterback Noah Stifle.
 
“The one thing that is pretty exciting is that we’ve got a lot of guys coming back on the offensive side of the ball,” Baddeley said. “Noah was playing really well at the end of last season. So you expect him to take off from that point and continue to build. He has worked hard in the offseason and in the weight room. He’s a natural athlete that can run, and can throw. He is showing some really good leadership. Even in spring ball, helping some of the younger guys, coaching them up. We’re really excited for what he’s going to be able to bring this year. We’re excited about the team, where we’re at offensively right now.”
 
Stifle had his first opportunity to start last season, and the 6’1” 160-pounder made the most of it. Woodinville won its third consecutive Kingco 4A title with himaz under center. And he feels more comfortable than ever as the leader of the team.
 
“Knowing that I have experience on a Friday night,” Stifle said. “We have a lot of young players and players who haven’t started before. So I have to help them with my experience, to prepare them with what is going to happen.”
Stifle reflected on what it feels like heading into his senior season.  
 
“Ever since I started playing football that was what I wanted to do,” he said. “To be out there at Pop Keeney Stadium on Friday nights. And now to realize that this is my last year to do so, I’ve got to give it everything I’ve got.... Cage [Schenck] and I worked a lot together during the offseason. We know how dangerous we can be this season. We both feel like we have to take over as leaders on this team.”
 
The Falcons will travel to Eastern Washington University this week to take part in the annual camp. Woodinville will compete against a couple teams in their schedule this fall -- Monroe and Edmonds-Woodway. They will also battle against Lake Stevens, who knocked Woodinville out of the playoffs last season in the State semi-final.
 
“It’s a great opportunity to evaluate the kids and see where we are” Maxwell said. “Lake Stevens will be there. It’ll be good to compete against them and if things go well [during the regular season this fall] maybe see them sometime down the line in the playoffs.”
 
THE RETURN OF PLUSCHKE
 
A familiar face was on the field last week. Former offensive coordinator Mike Pluschke had stepped down after the 2017 season, in order to watch his son Zane play his senior year of football at Cedarcrest High School. Now
Pluschke has returned, this time in the role of quarterback coach. “That’s a nice addition for us this season,” Baddeley said. “With all his experience and another set of eyes, he will be a big help.”
 
Penny at football practiceDoug Moore, the father of the late Woodinville linebacker Parker Moore, visited practice last Thursday afternoon. He brought "Penny", who seemed less interested in practice and more interested in a rabbit who rustled in some nearby bushes. (Photo by Derek Johnson)

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