With the departure of the CBBN’s leading running back and quarterback and the league’s lineman of the year, much of the retool for Eisenhower’s offense will rest with Malachi Spurrier.
That’s a good thing for the Cadets because this kid never rests.
A solid three-sport athlete who adds basketball and baseball to his busy school year, Spurrier emerged last year as one of the CBBN’s elite wide receivers, hauling in 29 passes for 482 yards and seven total touchdowns.
Spurrier’s breakout game came in a narrow loss to Sunnyside when he had six receptions for 130 yards and a touchdown that brought Ike within 28-26 in the final minutes. The Grizzlies focused their coverage on No. 1 target Drew Reyes and the junior took full advantage of his opportunity.
Now, there will most certainly be more opportunities as he rises to the No. 1 target.
“I know we lost a lot of guys, but I think our passing offense will be pretty strong,” he said. “We’ve had some good 7-on-7s this summer and we had a good camp (at CWU).”
The Cadets and Spurrier will be transitioning at quarterback from three-year starter Drew Kornegay to senior Jaiden Corbray. Fortunately for this pitch-and-catch tandem, there’s history.
“We’ve been playing together since seventh grade. He knows how I play and I know how he plays,” Spurrier noted. “He’s very quick and has a strong arm.”
The plan this season is to move Spurrier from the outside to slot, relying less on downfield routes and more on mid-range seams.
“I like the idea of running more short, quick routes,” he said. “Jaiden gets the ball out quicker, and we try to make plays from there. We’ve got new receivers who have a lot to improve on, but they’re doing really well so far. As a senior it’s my job to help them as much as I can.”
As you would expect from a skilled three-sport senior, Spurrier will contribute in many other ways, starting at cornerback on defense and deep for punt and kickoff returns.
With just two all-league players back from a year ago, coach Gary Jimenez knows he’ll have to lean on Spurrier while his new varsity crew finds its footing. The Cadets open their season at home against Stadium, which fell to Ike 42-28 in Tacoma last year, and then travel to Federal Way for a Saturday game on Sept. 14.
Jimenez’s team opens CBBN play with back-to-back road games at Wenatchee and Sunnyside, but four of Ike’s final five games will be at Zaepfel Stadium.
“I’m excited to get started,” said Spurrier, who’s part of the CBBN’s big returning receiver group along with Sunnyside’s Mike Rivera and West Valley’s Jack Van De Brake. “It feels like we’re going to have a good year.”