The return of an experienced quarterback has the Taholah Chitwhins ready to open up the offensive playbook as they look to climb to the top of the standings in a new league.
JauVon James-Juneau will be under center again this season as he takes the helm of the offense in his junior year. Chitwhins head coach Donald Waugh said he’s looking forward to another year with his signal caller.
“We have some experience coming back this year. JauVon James-Juneau is going to be under center again this year and he’s a state javelin thrower and a really smart guy,” Waugh said.
James-Juneau will have a valuable weapon in the backfield with him as Makya Ortivez-Hicks will see a lot of carries as the primary running back in the offense.
Joining him in the backfield will be James Orozco. Orozco spent a lot of time lined up as a wide receiver last season, but the coaching staff has given him more time at running back in preseason practices.
Waugh said the returning experience on offense will allow him to experiment a little with the playbook this season.
“We’re probably going to mess around with a little run-pass option this year,” he said. “I always like to start off with a base package and have that available and we’re looking at forming a run-pass option package to see how that goes.”
Taholah will look to take advantage of its experienced players while cultivating some of the young talent on the roster as well. The Chitwhins have close to 30 players on the roster this year, including 11 freshmen and eighth graders.
Waugh said there could be playing opportunities for some of his less experienced players on special teams and is hoping the depth will be able to provide the starters with some rest when needed.
“As far as depth, 30 is something new for us for sure. I haven’t been able to utilize a lot of depth, especially in special teams. Hopefully we can use as many of these kids as possible and keep our starters fresh.”
Waugh mentioned he likes to have a base package for his offense to operate out of, but wasn’t as rigid when it came to defense.
Taholah is entering its first year in the 1B Northwest, a league that features pass-heavy programs that look to spread the field on offense.
The move to Northwest league is a departure from the 1B Coastal that featured local teams like Mary M. Knight and the now defunct Wishkah Valley.
Waugh said he plans to go between three and four-man defensive fronts depending on what the opposing offense presents.
“A lot of the guys in our league run a spread package. That really limits us as far as what we run,” he said. “We want to mix it up a little bit with three and four-man fronts on a spread. My assistant will be my defensive coordinator, so he’ll be in charge of that.”
Taholah has new competition this season and the team is hoping to make a splash against some unfamiliar opponents. Waugh isn’t expecting it to be easy but he thinks his team has the right pieces to win a league title.
“We got some tough competition, that’s for sure. If we can come out on top I’ll be pretty pleased with that. Looking at the rosters, I think we have a good shot this year to come out on top,” he said. “That’s our ultimate goal and it’s a real goal that’s reachable for us.”