After the disappointment of losing to Capital in the , head coach Drew Oliver enters his fourth season with changes that may give the Highlanders a boost to propell the team beyond in playoff season this year.
The biggest move comes from Kyle Nelson, last years quarterback, who moves to kickoff returner this year. Tony Nipert will take over the quarterback position, with sophomore Nolan Hoover not far behind.
With 90 players turning out, many of the younger athletes have little or no experience and provides a challenge to the coaching staff to make sure everyone gets a chance on the field. However, Hazen has the advantage toward its future with the younger players. There are no longer freshmen or C teams in the due to budget issues.
Head Coach - Drew Oliver, 4th season (20-10 overall)
Last year - 4-2 league, 7-3 overall and lost to Capital 42-0 in the first round.
Key players - Cody Moorhead, Kyle Nelson, Tony Nipert, J.D. Peterson, Isiah Davis, Mason Jacobs, Tyler Wicks, Jordan Abduilah and Nolan Hoover.
Strength - The Highlanders have two solid quarterbacks in Tony Nipert and Nolan Hoover. Kyle Nelson moves from quarterback to kickoff returner. Cody Moorhead has offers from several Division 1 colleges provides the anchor on the line.
Weakness - Depth in all positions despite having 90 players turn out this season; many are first time players. Injuries in any key positions will cause a chain reaction and limit ball movement. They also lost two key runners in Cody Taylor and Tray Brown (combined rushed for nearly 1500 yards.
Preseason Maxpreps ranking - 3A (28), overall in state (116), nationally (5272).
Big Game - Kennedy, the Highlanders must beat Kennedy to earn a better spot in the playoffs. If a loss comes, Hazen must maintain including in the final league game against Renton.
Schedule (*All City, **Non-League)
August 30 vs Franklin Pierce** at Renton Stadium, 7 p.m.
September 7 at Liberty**, 7 p.m.
September 14 at Highline (Highline Stadium), 7 p.m.
September 21 vs Lindbergh* (Renton Stadium), 7 p.m. (Homecoming)
September 27 at Kennedy (Highline Stadium) 7 p.m.
October 4 vs Evergreen (Renton Stadium), 7 p.m.
October 11 vs Bainbridge Island (Renton Stadium), 7 p.m.
October 19 at Foster, 7 p.m.
October 26 at Renton (Renton Stadium), 7 p.m.