When teams play East Valley, they’ll be facing the whole package in Jesse Ewell.
Ewell, who weighs 202 pounds, poses problems for opponents when he is at fullback in EV’s Wing-T offense. Last year, he rushed for 768 yards and scored 5 touchdowns. And he had an 89-yard run and 60-yard screen pass for scores called back against Colville.
On defense he raises havoc at middle linebacker. Ewell has been the team tackling leader for two years.
“I just like the feeling of hitting someone or scoring a touchdown,” said Ewell of his football obsession. “You don’t get it every day.”
Last summer at a Reebock-sponsored high school combine, which tests athletes for college scrutiny in Student Sports Magazine, Ewell was among the state’s best.
His 25 repetitions at 185 pounds in the bench press was fifth of the 283 athletes participating. He ranked among the top 20 in the magazine for pro agility.
His maximums have been 350 pounds for the bench-press and 450 pounds for the squat.
“He’s one of the hardest workers I’ve had in the weight room and is extremely strong,” said EV coach Jim Clements. “He ran track to develop speed and has gotten quicker.”
No wonder Ewell matter-of-factly says, “I don’t get tackled much on the first hit.”
This year he will be a focus of a Knight team trying to improve on last year’s 5-4 season and third-place Frontier League finish.
EV’s offense is experienced. Ewell will be joined in the backfield by runners Bill Armtrout, Chris Skidmore and Matt Eastman. Junior Brian LaMarche takes over fulltime at quarterback.
Receiver Kyle LeGrant returns, joined by senior Ty Franklin who missed last year.
The problem is they’ll be running behind an inexperienced line.
“Tackle to tackle, they have one year total playing time,” said Clements.
Included are sophomores Ryan Stengle and T.J. Horgan, a pair of 220 pounders, junior center Paul Shogren, senior Jason Knopp, 244-pound junior Joe Ferguson or senior Shane Robertson and tight ends Ken Skogen and Chris Rankin.
Both Knopp and Robertson played defense last year. Other defenders are lineman Jason Sharp, linebacker Josh Phillips, Todd Hughes, who also kicks, and Ross Teague in the secondary.
“Once the sophomores get going, our team is going to be really good,” said Ewell.
He grew up liking football. His dad, Bob, played at North Central.
“I’ve lived in the same house 18 years and ran the hills,” Ewell said. “I used to play against older guys.”
Since seventh grade he has improved every year. He first rushed for 100 yards as a sophomore in a game against Sandpoint.
His goal lead the Knights into the playoffs.
“I’ve always liked the feeling of being the guy counted on to do good,” said Ewell.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: EV SCHEDULE Sept. 8 Coeur d’Alene at EV, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 15 EV at Lake City of Coeur d’Alene, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 22 EV at Clarkston, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 29 Riverside at EV, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 6 EV at Cheney, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 13 West Valley at EV, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 20 EV at Colville, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27 Pullman at EV, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3 EV at Central Valley, 7:30 p.m.