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2017 Football: Indians Reload for Another Run at State Playoffs

Toledo’s Keyton Wallace runs the ball during a football practice.

2017 Football: Indians Reload for Another Run at State Playoffs

The 2017 Toledo Indians football team looks to have reloaded and is primed for another run in the state playoffs after an outstanding 2016 season.

The Indians made it to the state semifinals last season, losing a 31-28 thriller against eventual state champion Napavine in Centralia.

But this team is not the same as last season’s team, with the most notable change coming in the form of new head coach Mike Christensen. Christensen was an assistant under Jeremy Thibault last season, and Thibault left to take over his alma mater in Centralia.

“I think that we’re a work in progress. We’ve got a lot of guys that work hard,” Christensen said. “They’re out here playing hard every day, but we’ve got a lot of work to do before our first game for sure.”

Toledo’s Gannon Madill

Christensen noted that he will be keeping some of what Thibault did with the team, as well as sprinkling his own style into the team and playbook.

“We’re keeping about 60 percent of what he did, and we’re adding about 40 percent of our own stuff,” Christensen said. “It’s hard to break it down that way but the basic offense is the same. We’ve renumbered the backs, tweaked things here and there, but the basic offense is the same.”

Another big change is at quarterback. Dalton Yoder graduated, and the void at quarterback has been taken over by a senior and a junior.

“You can’t really replace a guy that size. I’ve been watching a lot of game film and I go back and he just drags four, five, six guys at a time,” Christensen said. “I think it’s going to take a team to replace him. We’re going to have Gannon Madill play quarterback and we’re looking at Bryce Marcil playing some quarterback for us, but you can’t just replace him with one guy. It’s going to take a lot.”

This season’s senior leadership, including Madill, Keyton Wallace, Tyler Robinette, TJ Nef and Austin Crawford, should take over right where the class of 2017 left off.

“They kind of took the torch and they wanted to run with it. They’re happy to have their own team. It’s great having that group of guys in front of you, but it kind of also casts a shadow on you,” Christensen said. “Those guys would be playing varsity for other teams and they kind of had to sit on JV and not play very much varsity. They’re excited about it and they’ve worked hard this summer. They’re excited to take the torch, and they’re excited to have their own football team for once.”

The deepest position for the Indians appears to be running back, with a few guys looking to get their hands on the ball in Toledo’s bruising running game.

“We’ve got a lot of guys that look good at practice. We’ll see what it looks like when people start hitting people and guys that can hold onto the ball and things like that,” Christensen said. “Right now, we’ve got a lot of speed and we’re going to use that, and we’re going to get the ball in as many guys hands as long as they can handle the load.”

The SWW 2B River Division will be competitive once again. Toledo faces seven Central 2B League teams, which is arguably one of the most competitive in the state.

“I think it’s really tough. The Central 2B in general is probably the best 2B league in the state and the River, we saw Wahkiakum at camp and they look really tough,” Christensen said. “Kalama has almost everybody back, and another thing about the central 2B and especially the River is the coaches. You have just great coaches who have been at their team for a long time, they know the game of football.”

Toledo Indians

SWW 2B River Division

Coach: Mike Christensen (1st)

2016: 12-1 (lost in state semifinals)

Returning Starters: Offense — Cody Towns (OT), Hunter Eaton (RG); Defense — Gannon Madill (CB), Keyton Wallace (FS)

9/1 at Charles Wright

9/8 at Ilwaco

9/15 at Adna

9/22 Pe Ell-Willapa Valley

9/29 at Toutle Lake

10/6 Mossyrock

10/13 at Wahkiakum

10/20 Kalama

10/27 Winlock

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