QB Easton Wise-Hyde - Wise-Hyde is exactly what you’re looking for in a program QB. He’s been playing QB in Hanford’s system since he was a young kid, and now he’s ready for the big time. This 5-foot-11, 170-pound junior is a total gunslinger, which is perfect for Hanford’s spread offense.
RB Dylan McElderry - McElderry really caught fire towards the end of his junior year. When the original starter, Jared Devine, was lost for the season, McElderry stepped in and started the final five games. McElderry’s season was highlighted by a historic performance against Sunnyside, where he set a school record by scoring five touchdowns.
WR Isaiah Mitchell - He’s a tough-minded receiver who always runs his routes hard, and isn’t afraid to play physical. Pound-for-pound, Mitchell might be the strongest player on the team. This 6-foot, 185-pound senior is poised to have an All-League level season.
RB/DB Kamari Durmas - You won’t find many high school cornerbacks that are built like Kamari Durmas. He’s a muscular 5-foot-11,185-pounds, and he knows how to use his frame to deliver big hits. Dumas is expected to be a shutdown corner, and will also take some handoffs in the backfield.
OL/DL Wyatt Eller - The 6-foot-3, 300-pound senior is going to be a key contributor on both sides of the ball. Whether it’d be size, work ethic, or high IQ, Eller checks all the boxes that you look for in a linemen leader. He’ll be a tall order for any opposing coach to gameplan for.
Words cannot describe the pain that Hanford felt after squandering a 24-7 lead with eight minutes left against Gonzaga Prep in a state qualifer, a game they would lose 28-24. It would’ve sent Hanford to the state playoffs for the first time since 2009.
As heart-breaking as it was to come up one play short of making it to state, there’s no denying that Hanford Football is a program on the uptick at the moment.
The head coach of the Falcons, Brett Jay, inherited an 0-10 program back in 2015. It’s been a slow and steady ascent, but coach Jay firmly believes now he has his program in a position to be a contender every single season.
If Hanford is going to take that next step in 2019, they’re going to need their new quarterback, Easton Wise-Hyde, to become a star quickly. He’s largely an unknown commodity at this point, but the coaching staff has bought into him, and he’s as ready as he’s ever going to be.
Fortunately for him, he’ll have a couple powerful running backs to lean on in Dylan McElderry and Kamari Dumas. There’s high hopes that McElderry can be a workhorse type back, which could result in him leading the league in rushing. He’s at his best in open space, making defenders miss.
Dumas’ running style is fast and aggressive. He’s a challenge to take down between the tackles.
Both back will be working behind an experienced offensive line. With four of five starters returning, the O-line that may actually be the strength of the offense.
One of the many anchors on this line is senior center Wyatt Eller. The coaching staff has a lot of trust in him due to his consistency and excellent fundamentals.
Protecting Wise-Hyde’s blindside is a slim 6-foot-3 senior in Payten Collins. His build is more like a tight end, but Hanford needs an athletic and long guy to play left tackle, and Collins is exactly that.
Holding down the right side of the line is 6-foot, 240-pound guard Casey Moddrell, and 6-foot-2, 260-pound tackle Michael Chvedov. Both have a track record of being maulers, which should mean good things for the run game.
At the end of the day however, Hanford is a team that’s going to wants to air it out. There is definitely no shortage of tremendous downfield targets.
The conversation has to start with senior Isaiah Mitchell. He was a bit hidden last year behind a couple all-star seniors in Luke Stutey and Blake Vander Top. But now that he’s a bonafide top target, a special season appears to be on the horizon.
Three other receivers to look out for would be brothers Caleb and Jamouri Harvey, and the highly shifty Gabe Martinez. The brothers moved to the Tri-Cities from Florida. With their tall and athletic builds, Caleb and Jamouri are excellent additions to the passing game.
On the defensive side, Hanford will be striving to improve from being the sixth overall unit in the conference. Former Hanford head coach Bob Oram returns to the program as its new defensive coordinator, and they are hoping to see increased production this season.
The D-line should see plenty of the veteran O-linemen flip over and play defense. Some of those players will be Wyatt Eller, Payten Collins, Casey Moddrell, and Bobby Mauseth.
A player with increased responsibility this year is 6-foot, 205-pound senior defensive end Marcus Romero. With the sheer volume of two-way players on the D-line, Romero is going to need to stay healthy, and be a consistent force.
In the linebacker corp, a budding player that could get a lot of tackles this year is Konnor Oberman. He’s primarily been a receiver, but the coaches moved him to linebacker this season. With his strong, 6-foot, 205-pound frame, middle linebacker could be the perfect for for Oberman.
The picture isn’t clear yet who will join Oberman on Friday nights, but a couple seniors that have been playing at outside linebacker during Spring Ball is Nathan Bushman and Isaiah Mitchell.
The secondary should be a strength this year. It is highlighted by a couple All-League candidates in Gabe Martinez and Kamari Durmas.
Martinez led the entire conference in interceptions last year with six, en route to a First-Team All-League honor. Durmas is going into his third season as one of the starting corners, and there really is no true weakness in his game.
Manning the other DB spots is going to be the senior combination of Alec Cruz and Edward De La Paz at the safety spot, and the other cornerback will be junior Amir Deng. Deng is a little undersized at 5-foot-10, 140-pounds, but the coaches have liked what he’s done this off-season, and they are excited for what he can do this year.
Projection: With 30 seniors graduating from last year's squad, it might be easy to assume that Hanford will take a step back in 2019. But given the momentum of this program right now, it would not be wise to step in the path of this active train. It’s worth acknowledging however that Hanford’s schedule is brutally difficult. A road slate of Kennewick, Kamiakin, Chiawana, Hermiston, and Richland would make any team shudder. The MCC boasts only two playoff berths this year, so Hanford simply cannot take any weeks off. Like they always do, expect Hanford to fight tooth and nail to qualify for the state playoffs.
@ Kennewick 9/6
@ Chiawana 10/4
@ Richland 11/1