Written By: Will Hoenike
Head coach Bob Haworth, going into his second season leading the 1A Division 2 Cascade Ramblers, wants to let it fly a bit this fall.
And why not? The Ramblers have a returning quarterback, a couple talented receivers, and a shifting landscape in the Long Pin Conference that could provide an opportunity to a program that hasn’t played in the postseason since it was a 1A Division 1 squad in 2009.
Junior Saige Nickels returns as the team’s signal-caller after throwing for over 500 yards and six scores as a sophomore. He’ll have a dangerous weapon on the outside in senior Cody Moosman. Moosman, as a junior, had over 300 yards receiving, ran for a touchdown, and threw for three more to show off his versatility. As a reward, he earned All-Conference honors when the season ended.
Haworth and Nickels will also have senior transfer Tristen Boley lined up at receiver as well.
“The addition of Boley should really help our attitude and competitive nature,” Haworth said. “We will open up our passing game this year and these three (Nickels, Moosman, and Boley) will be the key to making it work.”
Sophomore Gavin Nitzel, who made big strides over the summer, and freshman Rylan Fox also figure into the offensive gameplan as well as the Ramblers look to improve an offense that was inconsistent at times in 2018.
Moosman also figures to lead the Cascade defense after totaling 53 tackles, including ten for loss, last season. Nitzel chipped in 18 total tackles as well as a freshman.
Haworth says one challenge facing the Ramblers is up front. The team does not have great size, so the staff will adjust schemes to maximize its quickness and mobility. Justin and Jared Littlejohn, two of the three starters along the Cascade front line, were seniors last season so there are opportunities for other players to earn playing time right away.
The Ramblers open the season at home on September 6 against 1A Division 1 opponent Notus. After a road game at Pine Eagle (Oregon), Cascade goes on the road to play Lewis County out of the White Pine League and then comes home to face another team from Oregon, Cove, before opening Long Pin Conference play on October 4 at Horseshoe Bend.
There are three new coaches in the Long Pin this season, as Salmon River, Tri-Valley, and Council all have new leadership on the sideline. And, as usual, some of the conference’s top players (players like Quade Renfro of Horseshoe Bend, Canyon Harper of Salmon River, and Orion Southwick of Tri-Valley, among others) are gone as well. So opportunity exists for teams and players to rise to the top.
It’s year two in Cascade for Haworth, if the offense grows as expected, the Ramblers have a chance to make a move forward in the standings.