Redmond High football players have been anticipating this season for a long time. Last winter, head coach Mickey Ahrens opened the doors to the gym at 5:45 a.m. on some days and around 40-55 Mustangs popped up from their beds early to work out.
Now, it’s go time for the 4A KingCo squad, which will kick off its season at 7 p.m. Sept. 6 at home versus Squalicum.
Second-year Mustang coach Ahrens, whose team finished 3-7 overall last year, said his players are in solid shape and his goal is to “put our guys in position where they can do their best.”
Senior University of Washington commit Carson Bruener (6-3, 205) will lead the way at linebacker/running back. He possesses a stellar work ethic and is tight-knit with the coaches and players, Ahrens said. “It’s the best feeling for a coach,” to have someone like Bruener at the forefront, the coach added.
The Mustangs have junior Tyler Fortney (5-11, 160) set in the quarterback spot and he’s filled with athleticism, a great arm and smarts, Ahrens said. In last season’s final two games, Fortney notched five touchdown passes, amassed 350-plus yards passing and didn’t throw an interception.
Other top players include senior nose guard/offensive lineman Max Badger (6-2, 285), senior running back/linebacker Matthew Janetzki (6-0, 180) and sophomores Braydon Bruener (6-0, 170) at wide receiver/linebacker, Zac Mercado (5-7, 151) at cornerback, Sam Stavoe (5-10, 155) at cornerback and Ben Hartman (6-3, 270) at guard.
Ahrens lists his coaching philosophy as “Pound the Rock,” which is derived from the credo of San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. Ahrens noted that if you pound a rock 100 times and it breaks on the 101st smash, the previous lengthy striking paved the way for that victorious moment.
“Every day, hit the reset button and take another swipe at the rock,” Ahrens said.
Sept. 6 home vs. Squalicum, 7 p.m.
Sept. 13 home vs. Seattle Prep, 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 at Lake Washington, 7 p.m.
Sept. 26 at Inglemoor, 7 p.m. (Pop Keeney Stadium)
Oct. 4 at Woodinville, 7 p.m. (Pop Keeney Stadium)
Oct. 11 home vs. North Creek, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 home vs. Bothell, 7 p.m.