It’s like unwrapping a birthday present that you couldn’t wait to get your hands on. Most things are new with the Juanita High football program and players and coaches are ready to dig into what’s sitting in the package.
“It’s my first time leading up to this. It’s exciting,” said first-year head coach Jared Carter the day before his team’s first practice.
Carter spent the last four years as the defensive coordinator and associate head coach at Lake Washington High, earning 3A KingCo Assistant Football Coach of the Year honors in 2017. He replaces Lele Te’o, who led the Rebels for four seasons.
Juanita, which finished 4-6 overall last season and 1-4 in 2A/3A KingCo, has an open competition for the starting quarterback position with junior Zubin Gupta (6-0, 220), senior Tyler Schropp (5-5, 125) and senior Connor Blackburn (6-1, 178).
Also on offense, senior Brayden Brown (6-0, 183) and junior Dylan Villegas (5-9, 165) will bolster the Rebels’ running game at tailback. Senior Keegan Eby (6-1, 235) stands tall as a defensive stalwart and brings vital leadership to the squad.
“He leads by example and lets his work ethic do the talking. They listen to him and he’s got their respect,” Carter said of Eby, who is joined by other top players senior Cole Kennison (6-0, 205), senior Matthew McKeag (6-0, 190) and senior George Suzuki (5-9, 165).
Carter noted that they aim to have leaders at every locker and for each Rebel to embrace the team motto, “All In.”
“They’re excited. I think they’re gonna be all in. They wanna experience success. They wanna leave a legacy. They wanna play for their community,” Carter said.
Sept. 6 at Ballard, 7 p.m. (Memorial Stadium)
Sept. 13 at Mountain View, 4:30 p.m. (McKenzie Stadium)
Sept. 20 at Inglemoor, 7 p.m. (Pop Keeney Stadium)
Sept. 27 at Lynnwood, 5 p.m. (Edmonds Stadium)
Oct. 4 at Liberty, 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 home vs. Mercer Island, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 at Interlake, 7 p.m.
Oct. 25 home vs. Bellevue, 7 p.m.