Graduation hit the Colton Wildcats hard, but coach Clark Vining still has a Straughan around so pardon him if he feels like his offense is in pretty good hands.“That’s a rule, you have to have a Straughan at quarterback,” Vining said, laughing.
Josh Straughan had a record-setting season a year ago, passing for 3,538 yards and 41 touchdowns as Colton captured the Southeast 1B championship before losing to Odessa-Harrington in the first round of the state playoffs.
The major recipient of those passes was his brother, Jake. He caught 92 passes for 1,528 yards and 21 TDs. Jake, a senior, is stepping behind center, picking up where his brother left off.
“He can step up and do a pretty good job,” Vining said. “He’s a guy we might run a little bit more than Josh. He adds a different weapon to the attack.”
Colton’s league title was its first since the early 1990s and first under Vining. Pulling off a repeat would be quite the feat. Vining must replace eight starters overall.
“We had a lot of seniors last year and that meant the backups didn’t get on the field a whole lot,” Vining said.
Vining returns two other starters – senior running back/defensive back Nick Robertson, who was all-league last year, and senior wide receiver/linebacker Zach Devorak.
“For us to win the league a number of kids would have to step up,” Vining said. “We’re a team that’s going to get better as the season goes along.”
Vining tabs Liberty Christian of Pasco – now eligible for the playoffs after meeting enrollment requirements – as the favorite.