Jacks focus on earning playoff spot in new season
Heading into the 2019-20 season, Quincy High School senior quarterback Israel Cavazos and head coach Wade Petersen share a common focus; winning games.
Last season’s 4-5 finish left the Jacks on the outside looking in toward the playoffs. Quincy has not qualified for the postseason since the 2012-13 season, when the Jacks lost to River View in the state tournament. For both Petersen and Cavazos, the goal this season is the playoffs and possibly further.
“We want to be able to finish in the top three of our league,” said Petersen. “We’re going to have to win some league games to do that.”
Earning those league victories will be no easy task for the Jacks, said Petersen. Last season, Quincy lost all four of its league matchups, including a 37-3 loss to rival Ephrata.
“There’s just no easy games, there’s no cupcakes,” said Petersen. “Everybody in our league, especially the north side: Ellensburg, Ephrata, East Valley and Othello, these are all really good football schools.”
The Jacks haven’t defeated their rivals to the east, the Tigers, since the 2016-17 season; a 17-10 victory at Jaycee Stadium. Cavazos thinks the matchup will be just as difficult as always, especially on the road this season, adding, “that game is always tough.”
The Jacks will spend a majority of their season away from the friendly confines of their newly constructed stadium. Because of wildfire smoke last season, an away game against Zillah was canceled. That game will be made up this year, at Zilla, reducing the Jacks’ home games from four to three; one less home game for the seniors.
“It kind of sucks, we just got a new field, new stadium,” said Cavazos. “Hopefully in those crossover games we can get more home games.”
The Jacks start their season this Friday with a jamboree scrimmage in Royal City, where whey will meet up with Ephrata and Royal. The regular season starts on Friday, Sept. 6, with a visit to Zillah. The Jacks return to town the following week for their home opener against Brewster on Sept. 13. Quincy also plays home games against league opponents Othello on Sept. 27 and East Valley Yakima on Oct. 18. The Jacks’ other league games will be away, against Ephrata on Oct. 11 and Ellensburg on Oct. 25.
“We’re going to have to knock some of those guys off in order to get to the playoffs,” said Petersen. “You got to win those four games … that makes your season, really.”
Cavazos, last year’s starting quarterback, will remain the starter, said Petersen. The three other quarterbacks on the roster will compete for the backup spot, Petersen added.
“He [Cavazos] proved it last year that we can count on him,” said Petersen. “He’s solid.”
In addition, Quincy returns senior fullback Ruben Vargas, running backs Nathan Ortiz and Isaiah Ayala, wide receiver Connor Donovan, and lineman Cooper Raap, among others. In total, 20 seniors will return to the squad, according to Petersen, who added, “We’ve got a good group of guys coming back.”
By Miles King, firstname.lastname@example.org