2013 Football Preview: New coach brings intensity to Redmond High program | SLIDESHOW

Jason Rimkus is not only taking over a new team at Redmond High — the head coach is  building upon what Jeff Chandler had in motion during his three-year coaching tenure.

“He got the clay and we’re able to mold it,” an upbeat Rimkus said in the coaches’ room following Monday’s afternoon practice.

Nathan Moon, a senior offensive and defensive lineman, added a few minutes later as he wiped sweat from his brow: “I’m just excited for the season and the new future of Redmond football.”

The Mustangs, who finished 3-7 overall last season (including a 1-3 mark in the 4A Kingco Crest Division), will host Mercer Island at 7 p.m. on Sept. 6 in the teams’ season opener.

Rimkus comes to Redmond from Interlake High, where he compiled a 12-23 record in three years. He knows the 4A Kingco conference well, having played at Bothell High and garnering all-league honors as a defensive back. On the coaching front, he was part of the coaching staffs at Bothell, Pacific Lutheran University (where he played, as well) and Western Washington University.

Chandler (7-21 with the Mustangs) resigned last December to pursue a career in school administration.

“Redmond has always had great spirit, great support,” said Rimkus, adding that the school produces solid football players, as well. “I’ve had my eye on this place for a long time. (I’d) known that this has kind of been a place that’s been struggling for a while — and when the opportunity came, I just had to get here.”

Everyone involved with the football program has been supportive since Rimkus came on board, he said. Crucial elements to the Mustangs’ program, according to the coach, will be team camaraderie and passion for the game. A positive environment is key and he’ll encourage players that they have the skills and attitude to notch a successful season.

Rimkus candidly says that his coaching style is demanding, as well. He and the staff work the kids hard in practice and he calls it “a new style, a new brand” of Redmond football.

It can be tough, “but we’ve gotten a lot of kids all in,” Rimkus said.

Returning senior quarterback Zach Wheat will lead the Mustangs’ pistol offense, which will combine run and pass plays. Rimkus said Wheat has command of the huddle and is a stellar runner.

Other top returners are seniors Nick Kopak (kicker), Jordan Hall (wide receiver), Spencer Niederhausern (wide receiver), Chris Carpenter (wide receiver), Bryce Steckler (tailback), Josh Mason (center), Ian Seabrooks (a 6-foot-6, 300-pound lineman) and Moon, and junior Cristobal Pulido (offensive lineman). Top newcomers are junior Steven Misner and sophomore Kyle Burgmeier, both linemen.

Wheat said that kicking off the football season is all he’s been thinking about since the Mustangs last stepped on the field in October 2012. Since then, the Mustangs have bonded in spring camp, summer camps and in the weight room. They’re helping each other out, making each other better.

“I see a lot more kids just committed overall. The intensity level is jacked up a lot more than last year. People are wanting to go to practice, wanting to do this drill. Instead of just going through the drill, they’re doing it for a purpose,” Wheat said.

Added Moon: “You just always want to do your best every week, in every practice. I just hope I can contribute to that.”

As Hall looks across the coaches’ room at Moon and Wheat, his eyes lock into theirs and it gives off an air of intensity. One can tell that the Mustangs want to turn over a new leaf and make an impact in the 4A Kingco conference this season.

“Everybody needs to do their part: running good routes out there, getting good blocking on the O-Line… if I can get open, I’m doing my job,” Hall said.

Hall adds that he’s played football with many of the Mustangs since they were kids and they’ve become like family members over the years. This will be their last season together as Mustangs, he notes, and they want to go out on a high note.

“(I want to) make it something that I can remember for the rest of my life,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for Week One since last season. It’s going to be a big year for us here at Redmond.”

Here's the Mustangs' 2013 schedule:

Sept. 6: Mercer Island, 7 p.m.

Sept. 13: at Interlake, 7 p.m.

Sept. 20: at Seattle Prep (West Seattle Field), 7 p.m.

Sept. 27: Snohomish, 7 p.m.

Oct. 4: at Bothell (Pop Keeney Stadium), 7 p.m.

Oct. 11: Inglemoor, 7 p.m.

Oct. 17: at Woodinville (Pop Keeney Stadium), 7 p.m.

Oct. 25: Eastlake, 7 p.m.


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