The Mid-Columbia Conference football teams try to avoid one another in the summer — they don’t want to give too much away.
Try as they might, all nine teams ended up at the Eastern Washington University team camp.
It’s not enough to get a full scouting report, but Pasco coach Leon Wright-Jackson saw enough of Hermiston to learn a couple of things.
“They are big and they are fast,” Wright-Jackson said.
Hermiston will open its season Friday against Pasco at Edgar Brown Stadium in the battle of the Bulldogs. Game time is 7 p.m.
“I think they are going to have good team speed, and they have good skill guys,” said Hermiston coach David Faaeteete, whose team won last year’s matchup 45-0. “It was cool to see that they are going to be hungry this year.”
Hermiston, which has to replace a bulk of its offense with the graduation of quarterback Andrew James and running back Wyatt Noland, will look to sophomore quarterback Chase Elliot, who will get protection up front from senior all-league linemen Chase Bradshaw and Dustyn Coughlin.
Senior Garrett Walchli has speed, and the Bulldogs will use that out of the backfield, at receiver and on defense.
“I think we have a solid core group of seniors who put in the work over the summer,” Faaeteete said. “We have size and speed. I’m excited to see them put it all together on Friday night.”
Wright-Jackson is in his second year at the helm at Pasco — his alma mater. He has done his best to instill a sense of family and pride in the program.
“I always felt Pasco had good team chemistry,” Faaeteete said. “They are just missing pieces here and there. They compete and they are athletic.”
Pasco put in the work over the summer, getting in the weight room and attending camps.
“There were days we had 40 or 50 kids in the weight room,” Wright-Jackson said. “We did not have that last year. That’s progress.”
Pasco will rely on second-year quarterback Armani Reyes to run the offense. He threw for more than 1,100 yards and eight touchdowns last year.
Reyes will have an trio of receivers to throw to, including Des Licon, Alex DeLeon and Traeton Mitchell, while Sergio Avina will carry the ball out of the backfield.
“It’s awesome to see what Leon has done with his program in his second year,” Faaeteete said. “I think Pasco is on the up and up. They are going to catch some of us this year.”